Colorado Democrats want liability increase for assault weapon sellers, owners

Senate President John Morse outlines Assault Weapons Liability Act at the Capitol, with relatives of shooting victims looking on.

Senate President John Morse outlines Assault Weapons Liability Act at the Capitol, with relatives of shooting victims looking on.

DENVER — Colorado democrats introduced eight new bills at a legislative session Tuesday, calling them a “measured approach” to gun violence focusing on gun control and mental health.

Perhaps the most consequential of the eight bills is the proposed Assault Weapon Responsibility Act.

According to KWGN political reporter Eli Stokols, the bill is not calling for a ban on assault weapons. Instead, Stokols said its aim is to create stricter liability for gun manufacturers, sellers and owners dealing only with assault weapons — not with handguns, shotguns and bolt action rifles.

“As a civilized society, we cannot stand back and wait for another Columbine, another Aurora,” House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said. “This legislation will not bring all gun violence to a screeching halt, but it will reduce gun violence. It will mean fewer devastated families.”

Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado, echoed Ferrandino’s sentiments.

“This will not ban these (assault weapons) but it will hold everyone in the chain responsible for what happens with that weapon,” Morse said. “My hope is that it will finally bring an end to mass shootings and serve as a model of how other states might deal with gun violence.”

Some Republicans, however, were quick to fire back. That group included Sen. Greg Brophy of Denver.

“Do you make the guy selling alcohol responsible for the DUI?” Brophy asked. “I can’t believe how extreme this new liability measure is. None of these (new proposals) make us any safer.”

There were several other proposals relating to gun control and mental health put forth by Democratic lawmakers, as well.

Those bills deal with universal background checks, a ban on high capacity magazines, new mental health support programs, domestic violence safeguards, in-person training for concealed carry permits, a requirement for individuals to pay for their own background checks and the prohibiting of concealed carry on most college campuses, stadiums and arenas.

Refresh this page Tuesday afternoon for more updates from political reporter Eli Stokols