- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Republicans and gun rights advocates will try this week to repeal a law that prohibits the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. In the aftermath of mass shootings, Democrats passed the bill last year without GOP support, and the law became effective July 1. Here are five things to know about the debate.

WHERE THE VOTES STAND

There are two bills that seek to repeal the new law. Democrats rejected one in a House committee Monday with a 7-4 party-line vote. In the Senate, another repeal effort will be heard in committee Wednesday. Democrats have a 3-2 vote advantage there, and it’s also unlikely they’ll agree to a repeal.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THE LAW TOOK EFFECT

Gun rights advocates successfully recalled two Democratic senators in September because of their support of the law, and other gun restrictions. Gone are former Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron. They’ve been replaced, respectively, by Republican Sens. Bernie Herpin and George Rivera. Because of the new law, Erie-based Magpul Industries, one of the country’s largest manufacturers of ammunition magazines, is moving its operations to Wyoming and Texas. A pending federal lawsuit seeks to overturn the magazine limits and a new requirement that background checks be conducted for private and online firearms sales.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Opponents of the law say it doesn’t improve public safety because magazines, which hold ammunition in firearms, are not weapons. “Magazines are not firearms, and I think that it does help our society to understand what we’re really dealing with here,” said Republican Rep. Chris Holbert, one of the sponsors of a repeal bill. But supporters of the law say the goal is to minimize the damage from mass shooters by making it harder to have magazines that hold more rounds. “They are what mass shooters go to to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time,” said Jane Dougherty, a suburban Denver woman whose sister was killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN LAST YEAR?

Last year, hundreds of people, for and against, showed up at the state Capitol to testify on a package of Democrat-driven gun restrictions. But gun rights advocates made the most noise. They drove for hours around the Capitol and honked their car horns as the bills were heard. A small plane flew overhead with a banner in opposition of the bills. That same intensity hasn’t manifested itself so far, but people on both sides of the debate are still showing up in big numbers to testify.

WHAT OTHER GUN BILLS ARE THERE?

A Republican bill to undo new background checks on private and online firearm sales was rejected last week. This week, Republicans will try to exempt step-relations from those background-check requirements. A bill being heard Tuesday would allow local school boards to let employees carry concealed firearms if they have a permit. A bill up next week would extend legal protections to businesses that use deadly force against intruders.

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