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Legislature shoots down gun bills; police proposals pass first hurdle


GOP lawmakers again failed to loosen gun controls. - SHUTTERSTOCK
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  • GOP lawmakers again failed to loosen gun controls.

The state Legislature has been busy this session, with the Democrat-controlled House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee killing five Republican-sponsored bills aimed at increasing gun rights, while the House Judiciary Committee gave unanimous approval to four Dem-sponsored bills aimed at "rebuilding trust" in law enforcement.

A fifth "rebuilding trust" bill, House Bill 1117, has passed its first committee. That bill would require law enforcement to videotape interrogations of suspects for Class 1 and Class 2 felonies, as well as felony sexual assaults, in an effort to clarify whether confessions were false or coerced. The other bills that passed the HJC are:

• House Bill 1265, which would let a person who is falsely arrested have the incident deleted from his or her police record free of charge. Currently, a person must petition a court to have it removed, incurring filing fees;

• House Bill 1264, which would prevent law enforcement officers from using chokeholds unless the officer can legitimately claim self-defense;

• House Bill 1263, expanding the definition of profiling to include race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability; evidence collected in profiling-motivated stops would be inadmissible in court;

• House Bill 1262 aims to stop law enforcement officers who have committed serious offenses from getting jobs in other departments. Officers would have to agree to let previous employers disclose their personnel records, including disciplinary records. The Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board would also be allowed to deny certification to law enforcement applicants who have deferred judgments against them.

The "rebuilding trust" bills, which face an uncertain future with Democrat-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate votes ahead, are meant to build on a package of successful bills last session that enacted other reforms, such as piloting a body-camera program and strengthening the right of citizens to record police interactions.

"We continue to strive to build public confidence in our police officers and build police officers' confidence that they are supported by the communities they are sworn to serve," Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, who organized the packages for both this session and 2015, said in a release.

Meanwhile, the House military-related committee shot down a package of Republican bills aimed at rolling back gun control:

• House Bill 1204 would have allowed unlimited concealed carry of guns in the state's public schools;

• House Bill 1024 would have gotten rid of limits on ammunition magazines, allowing any size to be bought and sold;

• House Bill 1179 would have exempted active-duty military members with handguns from concealed carry laws.

• House Bill 1023 would have expanded the state's so-called Make My Day law, allowing employees and owners of businesses to use deadly force against a person who has committed a crime there, or that they may believe will commit a crime or may pose any threat. The Make My Day law currently only applies to intruders in a home.

• Senate Bill 17 would have eliminated permits and training requirements for concealed carry of firearms.

Republicans have been trying unsuccessfully to roll back gun control measures since stricter laws passed in 2013. The 2013 recall of then-Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, were tied to the passage of those gun-control measures.

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