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Gun bills move forward, surprising proponents, opponents

By Lindsay Watts, Weekend GMC Anchor/Target 13 Investigator , l.watts@krdo.com
Published On: Feb 19 2013 12:44:19 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 19 2013 01:08:18 AM CST

The Colorado House passed a package of gun control bills Friday sending the legislation on to the Democrat-controlled Senate.

DENVER, Colo. -

The Colorado House passed a package of gun control bills Friday sending the legislation on to the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The law proposals would require background checks for all gun purchases, ban magazines with more than 15 rounds for firearms and eight rounds for shotguns, allow public colleges to ban concealed weapons, and require gun applicants to pay for their own CBI background check.

The bills passed with most representatives voting down party lines, but House Republicans had some notable support from two southern Colorado Democrats.

Rep. Edward Vigil from the San Luis Valley was the only Democrat to oppose all four bills.

"Like I said this morning on the floor, it doesn't address the mental health issue," said Vigil. "Most of these people have mental health problems. They need to take care of that before we address the hardware issue. I feel like we have a hardware paranoia at this time."

Rep. Leroy Garcia of Pueblo voted for the universal background checks, but against the other three measures.

"I decided to vote for the universal background checks because it's one of the areas where we should actually tighten up the loopholes that exist," Garcia said. "The other remaining bills really didn't address the underlying cause of violence in our community. And, really, we have to spend more attention looking at ways to address mental health issues."

There are also unexpected proponents of the bills, including a Colorado woman who used her gun to stop a mass shooter.

Jeanne Assam is the former volunteer security guard from Colorado Springs' New Life Church who took down Matthew Murray, the man who open fired on the congregation in 2007 killing two teenagers.

"He had 30 round magazines," said Assam. "He had almost 2,000 rounds on him."

Assam, hailed for saving countless lives when she shot Murray, said she supports the gun control bills and believes they should go even further.

"I absolutely believe in a Second Amendment right to bear arms," said Assam. "But as far as AR-15s  or AK-47s, (civilians) don't need them. Leave them to the law enforcement and the military."

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