Colorado Senate committee passes 7 gun control measures

One bill would make manufacturers, sellers liable for crimes

Lindsay Watts, Weekend GMC Anchor/Target 13 Investigator , l.watts@krdo.com
POSTED: 12:15 PM MDT Mar 11, 2013    UPDATED: 11:42 PM MST Mar 04, 2013 
DENVER -

A Colorado Senate committee approved a package of gun control measures Monday, including a bill that could make manufacturers and sellers of assault-style weapons liable for crimes committed with their guns.

That bill, sponsored by Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), would allow makers and sellers of semi-automatic rifles to be sued for acts of violence committed with their guns if they "negligently entrusted" weapons to someone who they "reasonably should have known might use the weapon" to commit a crime.

Other bills approved would require universal background checks, limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds, require gun buyers to pay for background checks (about a $10 fee), put new gun restrictions on people with restraining orders or domestic violence convictions, ban concealed weapons on college campuses and ban online training for concealed handgun permits.

There was emotional debate from people on both sides of the issue.

People who've been impacted by some of the nation's worst mass shootings gathered for a press conference before the hearings began.

Patricia Maisch helped stop the mass shooter at Gabby Giffords congressional town hall in Tucson, wrestling away his second magazine of bullets.

"High capacity magazines absolutely make a difference in mass shootings," said Maisch. "It took 19 seconds for the Tuscon shooter to slaughter six people, injure 13 and emotionally injure countless others."

Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' husband, Cpt. Mark Kelly, was also in Denver for the hearing.

"Gabby's gift for speech is a distant memory," said Kelly. "She struggles to walk and is partially blind."

Testifying on the other side of the debate was Krista Ceresa whose mother, Ginny May, was kidnapped, raped and killed by Gary Davis in the late 80s. Davis is the last man to be executed in Colorado.

"I saw Gary Davis physically force my mom from our front yard as I was restrained by his wife on the steps of our country home," Ceresa said tearfully.

Ceresa urged senators to vote against the measure that would ban concealed weapons on college campuses.

"You will only make people like myself: a daughter, a wife, a mother, an easier target," Ceresa said.

The measures approved still have more votes to come in the Senate. Most of the bills have already passed in the House, but some, like the one that could hold gun manufacturers and sellers responsible for crimes, still have to go though the House.