Gov. Hickenlooper says there’s wiggle room when it comes to new gun law

Photo: Gun ammo (iStock)

Nothing in the debate, however, convinced Hickenlooper that repealing universal background checks is a good idea.

"We're not trying to take guns out of people's hands or deny anyone their Second Amendment rights,” Gov. Hickenlooper said. “What we're trying to do is keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals."

Still, Gov. Hickenlooper says he's sympathetic to people who don't like the expanded requirements, which were the subject of Monday's Senate hearing.

"You know I don’t like bureaucracy more than anyone else does and having to sit around for 10 or 15 minutes waiting to make a purchase is an inconvenience," the governor said. “I accept that.”

"But at least 1,000 people who shouldn’t have guns, and as many as 3,000 or 4,000 people who shouldn't have guns, were denied by a simple background check," Gov. Hickenlooper said.

The governor did not attribute all of those incidents to the newly enacted parts of the background check law. Other Democrats in the statehouse have said the new law resulted in 104 denials in the first six months. But even that figure might be an overstatement because it includes checks done at gun shows, which were already required.

The governor did, however, reiterate his willingness to "tweak" the laws that were passed last year that require background checks for most private gun sales and place a limit on the capacity of ammunition magazines.

For example, Gov. Hickenlooper said he would support extending current background check exemptions to step-relatives. As the law stands now, Coloradans can give or loan their guns to immediate family members without a background check.

A bill introduced by Sen. Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulphur Springs) extends that to step-relatives.

"You'd want to look at the facts and think it through," Hickenlooper said when asked about the premise of Rep. Baumgardner's bill. "If that's the whole amendment, I wouldn't have a problem with that."

More on the governor's conversation on Tuesday with Ryan Warner is available here.