Skip to comments.Gun law may be altered
Posted on 01/16/2004 9:45:11 AM PST by neverdem
Under bill, checks would be run only in actual arms sales
Amendment 22, the law that closed the so-called gun-show loophole to require background checks on gun buyers, could be altered for the first time by the Colorado legislature.
On Thursday, a House committee took the initial step toward changing the voter-passed law, approving a bill requiring gun sellers to run background checks only when there's a sale, not when there's an "attempted" sale.
The wording in the bill is subtle, but anti-gun advocates say it would make profound changes by allowing sales transactions started at a gun show to be completed off-premises later - without the background check.
"We're splitting hairs over an act that opens a wide, gaping loophole," said Eileen McCarron of Colorado Ceasefire, an anti-gun group.
Amendment 22 was passed by nearly 70 percent of voters in the months following the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. Weapons used in that attack were obtained by a friend of the gunmen who did not have to undergo a background check because they were purchases at a gun show.
The sponsor of the new bill, Rep. Ray Rose, a Montrose Republican, said his measure simply removes ambiguous language that could put an unwitting, law-abiding prospective gun seller in violation of the law.
Rose's bill removes the word "attempts" from the current law, which states that "before a gun show vendor transfers or attempts to transfer a firearm at a gun show," the vendor must run a check.
What does "attempt" mean? Rose asked.
If a gun show shopper stops at a table and picks up the seller's business card, does that constitute an "attempt" to buy a gun, thereby obligating the seller to make a background check? Rose asked.
But people like Tom Mauser, who testified against the bill Thursday, said the bill is an attempt to subvert the will of voters.
Mauser is the father of Daniel Mauser, one of the 13 Columbine shooting victims, and a key backer of Amendment 22.
Rose said he sympathized with Mauser because he, too, lost a child - his 20-year-old son died in a car-pedestrian accident.
But then Rose lashed out. "I don't see anyone trying to outlaw cars," he said. "To bring that emotion into Colorado law is wrong, absolutely wrong."
Amendment 22 advocates say Rose's bill is an attempt to chip away at the law and that attempt was deliberately written into the law. A seller and buyer could do a "wink-wink" over the table at a show then later hook up to make the sale so they could get around the background check requirement, they said.
Lawmakers have a right to redefine terms - or clarify language - in voter-passed laws such as Amendment 22, explained Rep. Rob Fairbank, a Littleton Republican.
As Rep. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, said, "People who live under the law shouldn't be confused by the law."
Republican lawmakers on the House State Affairs Committee agreed with him, passing the measure 6-4 along party lines.
I attended a show in Denver where the wait for a background check was 3 hours. Business had pretty much ground to halt. It was common to wait an hour only for the CBI to hang up on you.
Same thing happens here in Ct. It ain't coincedence, either. That's done by design. Count on it.
Next Wednesday, we will see the Republicans try to pass the Wisconsin CCW bill. I hope they can do it. Missouri has to rule on their CCW court case but the court is 5 dems to 4 Republicans. We may lose that one.
In keeping with the US Constitution's Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms, all previous and future laws regarding the manufacture, sale and ownership of firearms, excluding those involving minors, are declared immediately and permanently repealed.
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