Gun Policy Looms Large In Legislature

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1min 36sec

Just a week into the new legislative session, state lawmakers have already introduced several bills on gun policy, with some of the most anticipated legislation still to come.

The following is a transcript of a report from CPR's Megan Verlee.

Reporter Megan Verlee: When President Obama presented his gun control proposals Wednesday, many of the ideas were already familiar to Democrats in Colorado’s legislature. They’re also working on bills that would mandate background checks for all gun sales and ban high-capacity ammunition magazines. Aurora Representative Rhonda Fields says she’s not waiting for Washington to act.

Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora): "As far as I’m concerned, Congress has not been very productive. And so as a state I have a responsibility to lead, especially in my district."

Reporter: While Democrats are likely to introduce bills making it harder for people to buy guns, Republicans want to make it easier for people to carry weapons and use them in self-defense. Under bills they’ve introduced, school districts could let teachers bring concealed weapons into the classroom, and businesses that ban guns would have to hire armed guards or risk lawsuits after an attack. Republican Senator Kent Lambert is sponsoring the business bill.

Sen. Kent Lambert (R-El Paso County): "It shouldn’t be a political issue, it should be a fundamental American issue. The people should not be put in jeopardy by having the right to self-defense taken away from them."

Reporter: Another Republican bill would allow some non-violent felons, including people with drug convictions, to own guns. With the legislature in Democrats’ hands, though, the Republican proposals are almost certain to be voted down. But House Speaker Mark Ferrandino says the issue is on everyone’s radar.

Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver): "It definitely is something that’s going to be discussed. I think it’s one of the major things being debated in this legislative session."

Reporter: Democrats are expected to unveil their gun control proposals in the next week or two.

[Photo: CPR/MVerlee]