- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 3, 2013

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. | A widely used hunting shotgun would be banned under a package of gun-control bills sponsored by Democrats sailing through the Colorado General Assembly, according to state Republicans.

State Sen. Greg Brophy said he received a call last week from a constituent who pointed out that the bill to ban high-capacity magazines would apply to the pump shotgun, which holds eight shells but can be readily converted to hold more.

The magazine bill limits ammunition clips to 15 rounds or eight shotgun shells, and bans firearms that can be converted to hold more. The pump shotgun can be altered to hold more shells by screwing on a tube extender, said Mr. Brophy.

How common are pump shotguns? “Everybody has one. They’re ubiquitous,” Mr. Brophy said. “Everybody who hunts has one; I have three of them. I can’t imagine a hunter in Colorado that this doesn’t apply to.”

Republicans are mounting a last-ditch effort this week to derail a slate of gun-control bills scheduled to be heard Monday by Senate committees. The House already has passed four bills, including measures to ban concealed-carry on campuses, mandate universal background checks, require gun buyers to pay for their own background checks, and limit magazine capacity.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said in a Facebook post last week that he would sign three of the four House bills, including the 15-round magazine limit. The only bill he is still reviewing is the ban on concealed-carry on public college campuses.

“We are all working to find reasonable compromises that balance Second Amendment rights with a goal everyone shares: to keep more guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said the governor in the Feb. 27 post. “We are also working with lawmakers on a plan to strengthen Colorado’s mental health system. We know no single plan — or law — can stop bad things from happening to good people. But we want to make every effort to get the right care to those who need it at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Senate President John Morse added another bill last week that would create liability for gun manufacturers, distributors and owners, although critics have pointed out that the measure conflicts with a 2005 federal law. Mr. Hickenlooper said in his post that he was undecided on the bill.

Democrats enjoy comfortable majorities in both the House and Senate, but Republicans said they believe they can peel off a couple of Senate Democrats who represent either rural or swing districts. The trouble is, the Democrats hold a 20-15 majority, meaning the GOP needs three votes.

The Colorado gunfight is being viewed as a microcosm of the national debate, which finds President Obama pushing a number of similar gun-control proposals in the face of opposition from Republicans and gun-rights organizations.

Pro-gun groups in Colorado have waged a fierce public-relations battle against Democrats, turning up by the hundreds at town-hall meetings, holding rallies at the state capitol and packing the legislature during committee and floor debates.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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