Colo. senators back failed gun bill

WASHINGTON – Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall voted Wednesday in favor of a failed amendment that would have strengthened federal gun controls.

Both Colorado Democrats supported a bipartisan amendment that would have expanded background checks to gun shows and the Internet.

That amendment, one of seven that failed in the Senate on Wednesday night, was rejected 54-46. None of the seven amendments received the required 60 votes to pass.

“It’s a sad day for our nation when a minority of the U.S. Senate has blocked commonsense legislation that is supported by 90 percent of Americans,” Udall said in a statement.

Bennet and Udall have both voiced support for more gun control to avoid tragedies such as the movie-theater shooting in Aurora last summer and the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

“In Colorado, we support the Second Amendment right to bear arms and people’s ability to hunt and to protect their families and homes,” Bennet said in a statement. “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.”

Udall and Bennet voted in favor of an amendment that included a ban on high-capacity magazines, but against one with an assault-weapons ban.

Spokesmen for the senators said the assault-weapons ban was too broad for Coloradans.Udall and Bennet split their votes on an amendment that would have permitted gun owners who have state-issued concealed-carry permits to bring their weapons into other states that have those permits, according to The Washington Post.Udall voted in favor of the amendment, while Bennet voted against it.

Udall’s vote in favor of the concealed-carry permits is consistent with the senator’s previous votes, spokesman Mike Saccone said, adding that Udall does not believe reciprocity agreements between states have been detrimental to the public’s safety.

President Barack Obama came to Denver on April 3 to renew his public push for gun bills. He urged senators to give the bill an up-or-down vote without a filibuster – something that ultimately didn’t happen. He spoke just down the road from the sporting goods store where accused gunman James Holmes bought the weapons prosecutors say he used to kill 12 people in an Aurora movie theater last July.

The president called attention to three gun bills the Colorado Legislature passed – two of which were similar to ideas he was pushing in Congress.

Colorado Democrats, with no Republican votes, approved new laws to require background checks for private-party gun sales and to limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.

Two more gun bills are scheduled to be heard in the state House this week. They would require in-person training to get a concealed-weapon permit and require certain domestic-violence suspects to surrender their guns.

Stefanie Dazio is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. You can reach her at sdazio@durangoherald.com.