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Gun Control Revived with Colorado Democrats' Win; Gun Advocates Warn 'There’s No Sugar-Coating It'

Residents protest guns in colorado springs

The mass murder of a dozen people at California’s Borderline Bar and Grill, along with a blue wave of Democrats in Denver, has given life to gun-control legislation in Colorado.

Dudley Brown, the executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, warned his pro-gun group’s members that because of Democratic Party victories in Colorado “there’s no sugar coating it; it’s 2013 all over again.”

Colorado Senate Republicans blocked so-called “red flag” legislation last spring that would have allowed judges to order the seizure of guns from people considered to pose a “significant risk” to themselves or others.

The bill was intended to allow relatives, household members or police to petition a judge for a temporary protection order so that firearms could be confiscated from the person considered to be an “extreme risk.”

“I got the biggest round of applause when we talked about the red flag bill, and its demise,” Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg (R) said of his appearance at a county Lincoln Day Dinner following the failure of HB 1436.

But the GOP applause died down after Democrats captured enough Senate seats two days before the Thousand Oaks shooting, giving a revival to red-flag legislation in 2019.

Senate Democrats will hold a 19-16 majority in 2019 after picking up two seats. Dems now control the House and the Senate, along with the offices of attorney general and governor. Rather than being 2013, as Dudley Brown said, it feels more like it’s 1936 again in Colorado. That’s the last time Democrats had such a stranglehold on the state Capitol.

Rep. Alec Garnett (D), who will be the House Majority leader in 2019, told the Denver Post that Democrats have enough power now in the state Capitol to bring red-flag legislation back to the floor for another vote.

“It makes sure that we get a policy through committee and onto the floor of the Senate to have a broad conversation,” said Garnett. “I’m convinced that there were Republican votes on the floor of the Senate to pass this (in May), but they sent it to a committee that it had no chance of getting out of.”

Tom Sullivan is one of the new Democrats elected to the Colorado House. Tom’s son, Alex, was one of the 12 people killed in 2012 when a gunman opened fire on Batman fans at the Aurora, Col., Century 16 movie theater.

“It became my responsibility to make people aware of that and to do whatever I could to make sure that doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Tom Sullivan said to KDVR-TV.

Gov.-elect Jared Polis and Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser support red-flag legislation.

"It still saves lives,” Weiser said. “There have been studies in California; for every 10 red flag orders, it saves a life.”