Colorado’s senators welcome bipartisan gun agreement

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Senators John Hickenlooper, left, and Michael Bennet, right, with Governor Jared Polis at an event marking the end construction on the Interstate 25 South Gap project near Larkspur between Castle Rock and Colorado Springs on Monday, November 22, 2021.

Colorado’s U.S. senators are both optimistic about a bipartisan agreement the chamber has reached on gun policy legislation.

“This common-sense proposal will help us reduce gun violence and protect our communities,” said Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. 

The framework includes increased funding for states to enact red flag laws, for mental health and for school security. It calls for an enhanced background check for buyers under 21, cracks down on criminals making straw purchases of guns, and closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” to keep guns out of the hands of convicted domestic violence abusers or individuals who have domestic violence restraining orders. 

“Although our work cannot end with passing this bill, I hope this bipartisan proposal will begin to address the epidemic of gun violence in our country and break the partisan stalemate that has put our kids and communities at needless risk,” said Bennet.

A spokesperson for Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper said he’s “encouraged and eager to see more details.”

The group negotiating the deal involved ten Democrats and ten Republicans. With the number of Republicans who have signaled support, it has enough votes to survive a filibuster. 

“Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities,” the 20 Senators said in a statement released Sunday. “Our plan increases needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons. Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.” 

However, some Republicans have come out in vocal opposition to the deal.

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert has made support of the Second Amendment one of her signature issues. She was critical of the Republicans who signed onto the framework, calling them RHINOs or “Republicans in name only.”

“Our gun rights are UNDER ATTACK by the Radical Left & squishy RINOs!” she wrote in a tweet before asking people to donate to her campaign.

The Senate agreement is much narrower than gun policy legislation passed by the House last week.

Democratic Rep. Jason Crow voted for those bills. “The families I represent have suffered through shootings at Columbine, STEM HS, and Aurora Theater, and they have demanded reform,” he said in a Tweet. “There’s much more to do like comprehensive background checks and an assault weapons ban, but this package represents an important first step.”

The Senate is currently writing the actual bill language and it could take more than a week after it’s finalized for it to actually come to the floor for a vote. If it passes, the legislation would then head to the House.