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Trio of gun bills introduced in response to Boulder shooting

Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) — Colorado Democrats unveiled a legislative package on Thursday in response to the mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder last month that left 10 people dead.

During a press conference Thursday, House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, credited the work of gun control organizations like Moms Demand Action and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence for “pushing” Colorado lawmakers to draft and introduce the bills.

“These bills will continue Colorado’s march forward for creating a safer environment,” Garnett said.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, will sponsor a bill to give local jurisdictions more autonomy to pass gun control measures.

Before the shooting occurred, a Boulder judge blocked the city from enforcing a city-wide assault weapons ban. The shooter reportedly used a semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 pistol during the attack.

Another bill would establish the Office of Gun Violence Prevention under the purview of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The office would be tasked with making policy recommendations to reduce gun violence.

A third bill would close the so-called “Charleston loophole,” which allows for a gun purchase to go through within three days even if the purchaser’s background check has not been processed.

Gov. Jared Polis previously signed two other gun measures into law. One bill requires firearm purchasers to keep their weapon in safe storage. The other requires gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within five days, or face civil penalties for any crimes committed with the weapon.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a gun rights organization, described each of the bills as “extreme.”

“We will fight against all of these anti-gun measures,” the organization said in a statement in Facebook.

In the wake of the shooting, President Joe Biden called on Congress to "ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again."