Colorado lawmakers advance gun control bills

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DENVER (AP) -- Colorado Democrats advanced restrictions on ammunition magazines and expanded background checks as hundreds of gun advocates filled the state Capitol during an intense day in the battle over new firearm laws.

The husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords testified Monday in favor of expanding background checks to include private and online sales. A Senate committee passed the bill on a 3-2 party-line vote.

Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Tucson, Ariz., was wounded in a mass shooting in January 2011 while meeting with constituents.

Car honks blared all day outside as lawmakers discussed seven gun bills. Four have passed on partisan votes, including banning magazines that load more than 15 rounds.

The bills still need votes by the full Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

Assault weapon liability bill gets first approval

A proposal to hold sellers and owners of assault weapons liable for damages in Colorado shootings got initial approval in the state Senate.

Democratic senators pass the bill on a 3-2 committee vote over Republicans' objections on Monday.

The bill would set different liability standards for manufacturer, sellers, and owners of assault weapons, with owners having the strictest standard. It would be up to juries to decide individual cases.

A federal law protects gun makers and sellers from liability for crimes committed with their products. But Democratic Senate President John Morse says he crafted his bill to avoid that conflict.

Constitutional law professor David Koppel slammed the bill and says it's poorly drafted.

The bill still needs a full Senate vote. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has not said if he'll sign it.

Campus gun ban advances

Colleges in Colorado would lose their unusual status of allowing concealed weapons under a bill that cleared a Colorado Senate committee Monday after hours of emotional testimony.

Democratic Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo choked back tears as she cast the deciding vote on a 3-2 tally sending the bill to the full Senate. The bill says that concealed weapons would not be allowed on public college campuses. It has already cleared the House.

Several victims of college rape, and two survivors of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, testified against the measure. They said that students are vulnerable in areas where law-abiding citizens can't carry concealed weapons.

The campus gun bill was among seven gun-safety measures that advanced in the Democratic Legislature Monday.

CO bill calls for in-person concealed carry course

Colorado residents who want a concealed carry permit would not be able to take any of their classes online, under a bill given initial approval in the state Senate.

The proposal clarifies that firearm training classes to get a concealed carry permit must all be taken in person. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary committee on a 3-2 party-line vote on Monday, with Republicans opposing.

Opponents of the bill say it places another burden on people who want permits. Supporters say one-hour online courses aren't sufficient to merit the right to carry concealed weapons.

The bill still needs approval from the full Senate.

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