Having a felony record means you can’t purchase a firearm in Colorado. At least, perhaps, until now.
State Representative Perry Buck wants to make it easier for some felons to buy a weapon and introduced a bill this month in the state legislature that would open the door for nonviolent criminals to make purchases. The Windsor Republican—whose husband, Ken Buck, is Weld County’s district attorney—says not all felons are alike. “There is a big difference between an income-tax felon and a homicide felon,” she told the Denver Post.
The impact of Buck’s bill isn’t totally clear, though. The Post reports that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation—the conduit through which gun-purchase background checks are run—doesn’t track nonviolent felons among those who were denied gun purchases. Last year, more than 7,000 background checks were denied for various reasons.
Buck’s proposal widens the gun-control discussion in a state rocked by the Aurora theater shootings this past summer. Adding to the debate is the County Sheriffs of Colorado, which issued a memo this week that says the state’s Democrats have overreacted on the gun issue following both the Aurora shootings and the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Democrats have indicated they could press ahead with legislation that would require background checks for all firearm sales in the state, which could include person-to-person sales. Checks so far are only necessary when purchasing from a retailer.
“County Sheriffs of Colorado believe in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution that guarantees the right of the people the keep and bear arms and that this right shall not be infringed,” the position paper says. “As our state and country continue to discuss and debate gun control legislation, the position of our founders remains clear. CSOC will not waiver in our defense of the Constitution and will stand to preserve every constituent’s right to possess a firearm. We believe the Second Amendment is no less important as the another nine Amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.”
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