Measures that could have expanded background checks for gun purchases and banned high-capacity gun magazines failed in the U.S. Senate yesterday but had staunch support from Colorado’s senate delegation.
Democrats Michael Bennet and Mark Udall both supported the initiatives—highlighting the tragedies in Aurora and at Columbine High School as reasons to act—but voted against another plan from California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein that could have banned more than 150 makes and models of assault weapons. “In carefully studying the language of this specific assault weapons ban, it became clear that it went too far because it also would have banned certain hunting rifles and even some shotguns,” Udall said in a written statement. “And there was no opportunity to amend this legislation to make it work for Colorado.”
While the assault-weapon ban failed 60-40, the background check amendment received 54 votes—six short of the 60-vote hurdle Senate leaders required for approval. The plan to block sales of high capacity ammunition clips drew 46 votes. Had any of the proposals passed the Democrat-controlled Senate, they still likely would have failed in the Republican-controlled House.
Bennet supports limits on military-grade weapons but thought the assault-weapons ban was too broad for Colorado and wouldn’t adapt to new weapons produced after the ban. Still, he said in a statement, our state has “also experienced two of the most tragic instances of gun violence in our country’s history. The debate is not about challenging the rights of responsible gun owners, it is about keeping the wrong weapons out of the hands of the wrong people.”
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