DENVER — Victor Head, a plumber from Pueblo, will testify at the Capitol Monday that the background-check law for all gun sales has made him and his family criminals.
Head will be urging lawmakers, specifically the three Democrats on the Senate State Affairs committee, to repeal the background check law passed in 2013.
"I don't think anyone has any real delusions that it will actually pass and get a full repeal," Head said. "What we'd like to do is at least let it out of committee and hear what our representatives and senators feel about it. See if their minds have changed, if the summer has swayed their opinion."
The committee has three Democrats and two Republicans and is historically known as a kill committee, where bills unfavorable to the majority party go to die.
The summer brought three recall efforts of Democratic senators who had supported in some way the gun legislation. Two of those efforts were successful and the third was halted when Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Arvada, resigned from office.
As the three lawmakers left office they stood behind their gun laws as important steps to protect public safety.
Senate President Morgan Carroll is a Democrat from Aurora who took the leadership post after former Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, was ousted from office.
"The majority of Coloradans, Americans, NRA members and people from all political parties support the use of criminal background checks before acquiring a firearm," Carroll said. "It is strange to me that they would run a bill to make it easier for convicted criminals to get access to prohibited weapons."
Since the law took affect in July the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has conducted background checks on 6,076 gun sales or transfers between private individuals. Gun sales at gun shows or by licensed firearm dealers already required background checks before the new law.
Of those private transfers, 104 were denied for reasons that vary from murder convictions or charges in the customer's background to assaults and restraining orders.
Another 18 gun buyers were initially denied but won the ability to buy the gun on appeal. Other appeals may still be pending.
"These statistics indicate the law is working," Carroll said.
Sen. George Rivera, a Republican from Pueblo who is sponsoring Senate Bill 94, is in office because he replaced Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, who was recalled.
Head played a major roll in orchestrating that recall and putting Rivera in office.
In spite of those recalls and threats from gun rights advocates that guns will be a major issue in the 2014 elections, Democrats are holding strong to five gun bills passed during the 2013 legislative session that they say make Colorado safer.
In addition to universal background checks, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills into law that prohibit new sales of high-capacity magazines that hold more than 15 bullets, charge the public a $5 fee for background checks done on gun sales, require in-person training for concealed carry licenses and empower judges to take guns from those accused of domestic violence.
When those bills were heard in committee last year, more people than there was time for lined up in the Capitol to testify on each one. At the climax of the gun rights debate an airplane circled the Gold Dome dragging a banner that asked Hickenlooper not to take away guns. Cars drove the blocks around the legislature honking for hours.