Colo. House approves limits on ammunition clips

Rhonda Fields, a Democratic legislator who represents Aurora, sponsored the Colorado gun bill. Aurora was the site of the mass shooting in a cinema last year.
Joe Amon/The Denver Post via AP
Rhonda Fields, a Democratic legislator who represents Aurora, sponsored the Colorado gun bill. Aurora was the site of the mass shooting in a cinema last year.

DENVER — New ammunition limits and universal background checks passed the Colorado House on Monday, during a second day of emotional debates that has drawn attention from the White House as lawmakers try to address recent mass shootings.

The bills were among four the Democratic-controlled House passed amid strong resistance from Republicans, who were joined by a few Democrats to make some of the votes close.

The proposed ammunition restrictions place a limit of 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns. Three Democrats joined all Republicans voting no on the bill, but the proposal passed 34 to 31.


‘‘Enough is enough. I’m sick and tired of bloodshed,’’ said Democratic Representative Rhonda Fields, a sponsor of the bill and representative of the district where the shootings at an Aurora theater happened last summer.

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Fields’s son was fatally shot in 2005.

Republicans argued that the proposals restrict Second Amendment rights and won’t prevent mass shootings like the ones in Aurora and a Connecticut elementary school.

‘‘This bill will never keep evil people from doing evil things,’’ said Republican Representative Jerry Sonnenberg.

The House also approved a bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases, including those between private sellers and firearms bought online.


Other proposals would ban concealed firearms at colleges and stadiums, and another requires that gun purchasers pay for their own background checks. Democrats eked out the closest vote on the background check measure, which passed on a 33 to 32 vote.

Democratic Representative Ed Vigil, who represents rural southern Colorado, voted against the four bills, saying his decision was rooted in the state’s rugged history.

“This is part of what it took to settle this land. I cannot turn my back on that,’’ he said.

But even though a few Democrats joined Republicans in voting no for the bills, the Democrats’ 37-to-28 advantage in the House gave them enough leeway.

The Senate must still consider the proposals. Democrats will have to be more unified in their support there because their advantage is only 20 to 15.


That means Republicans need only three Democrats to join them to defeat the bills.

Nebraska Republican won’t seek reelection to Senate

WASHINGTON — Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska said Monday he will not seek reelection in 2014, saying he wants a ‘‘quieter time’’ to focus on his family following a busy political career that included stints as governor and President George W. Bush’s agriculture secretary.

The one-term Republican senator said he and his wife, Stephanie, had decided the time had come to end a public career that has spanned more than half of his life.

In an interview, Johanns said he and his wife — a former state lawmaker — had a combined 16 primary and general-election campaigns. They held eight offices over the course of 32 years. ‘‘That’s enough,’’ Johanns said.

Johanns, 62, joined the Senate in 2009 and did not appear to face any reelection threat. He was Nebraska’s governor from 1999 to 2005 and served as agriculture secretary under Bush.

Johanns faced a health scare during his first year as a senator, undergoing surgery in March 2009 after doctors found a spot on his left lung. No cancer was found, the lower left lobe of his lung was removed as a precaution.