Colorado governor to sign 3 gun control bills

Posted at 8:28 AM, Mar 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-19 08:28:01-04

By Carma Hassan and Halimah Abdullah

(CNN) — After witnessing two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, Colorado is expected to pass a series of gun control laws Wednesday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign three bills into law Wednesday, his office said. The new legislation includes:

– A 15-ammunition limit on magazines;

– A universal background check for prospective gun buyers; and

– A requirement for gun purchasers to pay for their own background checks

Colorado’s most recent mass tragedy came last July, when a shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora left 12 people dead and 58 injured.

In a 27-second call to 911, at least 30 shots can be heard as the gunman roamed the theater, shooting randomly as people tried to scramble away or cowered between seats.

Federal agents said suspect James Holmes began buying guns two months before the attack. He allegedly built an arsenal of two Glock handguns, an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and 6,295 rounds of ammunition.

Colorado was also the site of the 1999 massacre in Littleton, where two students at Columbine High School killed 13 and wounded 23 others before killing themselves.

The debate over background checks gained prominence after the Columbine shootings. Three guns used by the two underage killers were purchased by 18-year-old Robyn Anderson at a Colorado gun show to avoid a background check.

Anderson later told a Colorado House of Representatives committee that the gun purchases had been “too easy.”

“I wish it had been more difficult,” she said. “I wouldn’t have helped them buy the guns if I had faced a background check.”

A national trend

Like Colorado, some states are enacting their own gun laws as they await federal action.

As blue states mull tougher restrictions on gun purchases and expand background checks, red states are considering pre-emptive laws to nullify a possible federal assault weapons ban.

More than 1,000 gun policy bills are pending in state legislatures across the country, according to an analysis by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The measures run the gamut from assault weapons bans and expanded background checks to proposals allowing guns in schools and in churches.

Over half of the nation’s state legislatures have had measures introduced that aim to nullify the effect of any federal ban on firearms, assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

CNN’s Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

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