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New local state senators return gun control issue to legislature

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Dec 31 2013 07:41:12 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 01 2014 11:38:58 PM CST

Two new senators who came to office because of opposition to gun control laws will spend the 2014 session trying to repeal two related laws that passed in 2013.

COLORADO SPRING, Colo. -

New state senators in Colorado Springs and Pueblo want to undo what lawmakers did during the previous legislative session and take back the two new gun control laws.

Republicans Bernie Herpin, of the Springs, and George Rivera, of Pueblo, plan to introduce bills on the first day of the 2014 session Jan. 8.  The bills would repeal expanded background checks -- and the required fees -- as well as the 15-round limit on gun magazines.

Both new senators say they have a duty to the voters who supported them over Democrats John Morse, of the Springs, and Angela Giron, of Pueblo.  The incumbents lost in the September recall election after they were criticized for supporting the gun laws and ignoring voters who were against the laws.

Rivera's bill will target background checks.

"The Democrats are still in the majority, both in the House and in the Senate," he said.  "They have a one-vote majority, so there's a possibility that the bill could die in committee."

Herpin's proposed legislation will ficus on the magazine limit.

"This being an election year, if I'm a Democrat, I'd like to take gun control off the table," he said.  "So our hopes are that we can work together."

The staff of one gun shop in Colorado Springs, Paradise Gun Sales, says their sales are down 30 percent since the gun laws took effect and support the effort to repeal the laws.

However, Herpin said the negative impact of the laws on the hunting industry was less than predicted.

"We thought more hunters would avoid coming to Colorado," he said.  "That did happen, but not like we thought it would."

Doug Schepman, communications director for the Colorado Senate Majority, disputed some of the comments made by the new senators.

Schepman said gun laws do work, and said as of Dec. 11 that 72 gun sales were blocked because the would-be buyer was charged or convicted of a serious crime, or was under a domestic restraining order.

As for the sheriffs' lawsuit against the state, Schepman pointed out that a judge recently ruled the sheriffs have no standing in the case as a group.  However, the judge ruled those sheriffs still could sue individually but it's unclear how many decided to do so.

Finally, Schepman said the negative impact of gun laws on the state's hunting industry as described by Herpin is misleading, and that statistics prove the number of hunting licenses issued increased by thousands in nearly every category since 2012.

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