Is There A Middle Ground On The Gun Issue?

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Photo: Guns for sale in Aurora (AP Photo)
In this June 2013 file photo, Richard Taylor, manager of Firing-Line gun store in Aurora, Colo., shows pistols for sale.

The issue of gun control and Second Amendment rights is one of the most polarizing issues in America. Is there a middle ground on this question in Colorado? The state has a long-standing hunting tradition, numerous rural communities are far from local law enforcement offices, and there have been mass shootings here, too.

Three Coloradans with different points of views on gun issues offered their perspective with Ryan Warner. Gary Hubbell is a ranch real estate broker in Hotchkiss, Don Woods is the chief executive of a large insurance company, and Jeffrey Sankoff, an emergency room physician in Denver.

Don Woods, on growing up with guns:

"I received my first gun when I was 9 years old. So ever since I was a little boy, I've always been around them. I've used them for hunting and target shooting, trap shooting and personally, I think guns in capable trained hands are just a tool that can be very safe."

Dr. Jeffrey Sankoff, on seeing gun injuries in the emergency room:

"They are often the tool that's used to solve disputes, which can be petty, and result in significant, long-term hardships. Very often I see young people coming in with severed spines because of a single bullet. I have to talk to families because their 17, 18, 19-year-old son -- most of the time -- has been shot and killed."

Gary Hubbell, on having to defend himself and his family from a neighbor:

"He was a very hostile and -- in my view -- psychopathic person. And every time we showed up on our property to conduct ranching operations, we were threatened. This man was firing bullets over our heads as a family. He pointed loaded guns at my wife and kids. His behavior was absolutely criminal, but nobody listened and nobody would do anything, and so I had to arm myself."

Click on the audio link above to hear the full conversation.

Key Gun Laws In Colorado:

High Capacity Ammunition Ban: Prohibits the sale and transfer of fixed and detachable large capacity ammunition magazines designed to accept more than 15 rounds. Owners may continue to possess, but not transfer or sell, those magazines purchased before July 1, 2013. (2013)

Domestic Violence Offenders: Persons who are under a protection order are prohibited from possessing or attempting to purchase or receive a firearm or ammunition while the protection order is in effect. Upon conviction of a domestic violence offense or imposition of a domestic violence protection order, the offender must relinquish his or her firearms and ammunition and is prohibited from acquiring firearms or ammunition for the duration of the order. (2013)

Universal Background Checks: Law requiring anyone who wishes to buy a firearm must undergo a background check through a federally licensed firearms dealer. (2000 amendment and 2013 law)

Pre-emption: A local government may not enact an ordinance or regulation of types of firearms that are legal under state and federal laws, and signs must be posted where open-carry is prohibited. A court decision indicated that some home rule cities retain some rights on regulations, such as Denver’s assault weapons and Saturday night specials ban and that they can regulate open carry as they wish. (2003)

Concealed Carry: Colorado sheriffs shall issue concealed carry permits to applicants who pass a background check, unless the sheriff has documented evidence of unsuitability. (2003)

Mental Illness Records: The clerk of courts must periodically report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) the names of persons who have been adjudicated as mentally ill. (2002)

Straw Purchases: Persons who knowingly purchase or obtain a firearm for a person who is ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law commits a felony. (2000)

Lawsuit Ban: Firearms and ammunition manufacturers, importers, and dealers are shielded from liability, except in the case of defects. In the event of a dismissed lawsuit the court shall award reasonable attorney fees and costs to the defendant. (2000)