The Colorado state legislature yesterday completed passage of one of the seven bills it has been working on for greater gun safety. That completed bill, requiring gun buyers to pay the $10 for their background checks instead of having the state pick up the tab, is now on its way to Governor John Hickenlooper. He has said he will sign it.
With two bills dropped, the Senate sent four of the remaining five back to the House for more action. The stack now includes a measure that would limit high-capacity magazines, which allow for the firing of dozens of bullets without having to reload. A review by Mother Jones magazine found that high-capacity magazines have been used in half our nation's mass shootings. For supporters of new gun laws, limiting magazines seems like a logical place to start. But in the Colorado state Capitol yesterday, the bill to set a limit of 15 bullets before reloading drew this from one state senator:
"I'm telling you right now: I will not obey this law," declared Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, of the bill limiting magazine sizes. "I will willfully and purposefully and civilly disobey this law."
Governor Hickenlooper now says he'll sign the magazines bill, too, if it reaches him. As it happens, the shooter in the Aurora, Colorado, theater -- who entered the cinema with high-capacity magazines -- is to be arraigned this morning. (The local Denver Post says he is expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. UPDATE: After the shooter's lawyers said he won't be ready to enter a plea until May or June, the judge entered a plea of not guilty for him.)
In the other state with new gun legislation, New York, more county legislatures passed resolutions calling for the state law's repeal: Schuyler, Chemung and Dutchess. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it would not comply with the SAFE Act's requirement to report patients likely to harm themselves or others, so they can be checked against a database for licensed gun owners. And the New York State Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the law tomorrow. New polling on the SAFE Act shows that 61 percent of New Yorkers like it, with strong majorities in more urban counties and 57 percent opposition in more rural Upstate New York.