Gun bill passes state House |

Gun bill passes state House

Baumgardner among those who supported ending background check

Lynn Bartels/The Denver Post

Randy Baumgardner

A mother whose son and future daughter-in-law were slain urged lawmakers this week to defeat a bill ending a state criminal background check of gun buyers.

"We should be doing everything possible to preserve and protect life," said Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.

She was joined by other Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Beth McCann, who served as Denver's manager of public safety during the 1993 so-called "Summer of Violence."

But the sponsor, Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, argued the FBI already performs background checks on sales through federally-licensed firearms dealers so Colorado's program isn't necessary. Private sales do not require checks.

"All we're doing is eliminating a program that is duplicitous and costs taxpayers this year $1.5 million," Waller said. "We have to decide the best way to spend the citizens' money. I'm here to say this program is unnecessary and we have better ways to spend this money."

House Bill 1048 passed on a 37-28 vote Wednesday, with four Democrats joining all 33 Republicans in supporting the measure. Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, who represents Routt County, voted in favor of the bill.

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It now goes to the Senate, where its fate is questionable though it is sponsored by Democrat Lois Tochtrop, of Thornton. So far, gun bills that have passed the Republican-controlled House have died in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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