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In the Colorado legislature

Two Harmful Gun Bills Rejected by House Committee
January 23, 2020

The House State Affairs committee today rejected two harmful gun bills. Both were defeated on party-line 3-6 votes.   Nearly three times as many people spoke in opposition as those in favor of the bills.  The bills defeated were:

HB20-1040  Guns in Schools – Sponsored by Patrick Neville, R-Douglas County, this bill would have allowed any Concealed Carry Weapon permit holder to take hidden handguns into elementary or high schools.

This is the eighth year this bill has been introduced, but Neville had a new argument this time around. He and his supporting legislators repeatedly stated that under his bill, school districts could write up their own policies, so that districts that didn’t want guns could keep them out.  Not so.  Under Neville’s bill, school districts could only draw up policies for their employees.  School districts cannot impose felony provisions, and the preemptive language in the concealed carry (CCW) law would prohibit them from disallowing any CCW permittee from bringing their guns on campus.   Colorado Ceasefire testified against this bill.
HB20-1099 –  Repeal the Ban on High Capacity Magazines –Sponsored by Reps. Lori Saine (R-HD63) and Stephen Humphrey (R-HD48), and Sen. Vicki Marble R-SD23.


Learn how to lobby and educate about common sense gun legislation.


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How a bill becomes a law

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Can only submit 5 bills each session, unless granted permission by leadership.

Must submit bills by a specified date, unless granted permission by leadership for a late bill.

Finds a supportive legislator in the other chamber as a sponsor and lines up co-sponsors.

Works with legislative services to draft language consistent with state statute.

Legislators are anxious to pass bills under their own names to demonstrate to their constituents their commitment to working for the good of Colorado and their district.

In Colorado the title of a bill is extremely important and legislators are careful in how they craft the title. Under the Colorado constitution, a measure cannot cover more than one issue. Additionally, the bill cannot be amended unless the amendment conforms with the title. Unfriendly amendments have even occurred which erased the bill entirely and replaced it with new language. Sometimes amendments are applied which have strategic intent for election purposes.

First reading is when the bill is read across by the clerk in the first chamber of reference (house or senate).

The bill is then assigned to a committee of reference by the majority leadership of the chamber. Sometimes the leadership will assign the bill to several committees. State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee is often used by the leadership for bills they do not want to see continue.

All bills with a fiscal note must be approved by the Appropriations Committee before going to the “committee of the whole” (the house or senate chamber). Appropriations can defeat the bill for any reason, not just monetary. No testimony is taken at Appropriations.

The committee of reference takes public testimony and discusses the bill. It will consider amendments and then vote whether or not to approve the bill.

Bills that are approved by a majority of the committee then go on to the next committee of reference, which could be another committee or the committee of the whole.

Bills that fail to receive a majority of votes in committee are usually considered for postponing indefinitely (PI). Bills that are PI’ed are dead for the session.

Committee hearings (except Appropriations) generally occur in the afternoons or after adjournment of the Committee of the Whole. They also have a set meeting weekly schedule, although this may all change towards the end of the session.

Only rarely will a committee meet on Friday.

A bill hearing must appear on the calendar at least 48-hours before it is to be considered.

Occurs with the Committee of the Whole (entire House or Senate).

Bills, as amended by committee(s), are presented to the entire chamber and are debated.

Citizens may observe from the gallery, but no public testimony is taken.

Bills can be amended at 2nd reading.

When a vote is taken, if the bill is defeated, it is considered dead (although occasionally there is a parliamentary move to reconsider).

The votes on second reading are not recorded, unless someone does a parliamentary maneuver to ensure recording of the votes.

In order to obtain approval of a chamber, the bill must be approved on a 3rd reading.

Therefore, every legislator has an opportunity to rethink his or her vote on a bill (and sometimes get an earful from the citizenry).

It is generally considered bad form to offer amendments to a third reading of a bill, and legislators have to receive permission of the chamber to offer one.

3rd reading votes are final and are recorded. Votes appear in the journal of the chamber.

After the bill passes 3rd reading, it then proceeds to the other chamber for the same 3 readings. The successful amendments from the first chamber are incorporated into an “engrossed” bill.

After a bill passes 3rd reading in the second chamber, it heads to the Governor for his signature or veto, unless the 2nd chamber or committees amended the bill. Those Amended bills are sent back to the first chamber, where a concurrence vote is sought.

If the first chamber does not concur with the changes applied by the second chamber, a conference committee is appointed to work out the differences. The bill that emerges from the conference committee must be approved by both chambers before heading to the Governor.

Governor may choose to sign, veto, or take no action on a bill.

A bill becomes law if:

  • Governor signs
  • 2/3 of each chamber overrides the Governor’s veto
  • Governor fails to sign after 10 days during session or 30 days after legislature adjourns.

In mid-March legislative attention turns to the state budget and the Long bill (because it is very long). This bill funds the entire state government. The Long bill is a product of the Joint Budget Committee (JBC), a powerful bipartisan committee that works closely all session focused on the state budget.

Colorado U.S. Senate Race: Candidates' positions on gun laws


Colorado will be one of the key states watched for control of the U.S. Senate.  There is one Republican challenging the incumbent, Sen. Cory Gardner, and ten Democrats.  

Use the toggle button above to learn about Republican and Democratic positions on gun violence prevention.

Cory Gardner

The incumbent U.S. Senator, Gardner is a fervent opponent of gun violence prevention, and would likely oppose virtually all of  our key gun violence prevention measures.  His website is silent on all of our key proposals, but does say  he is “proud to support and protect an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.”  He refers to misguided attempts to limit that right, which would likely include gun violence prevention measures.

Web site:
Actions: As a Colorado House member, was the sponsor of the first “Stand Your Ground –
business bill, which would have granted immunity for use of lethal force in business location.
Similar bills have been defeated for 14 years.

Selected Votes:
2016 – S. amdt 4720 Voted NO on prohibited firearms to terrorists
2016 – S. amdt 4750 Voted NO on Fix Gun Checks Act
2014 – H. amdt 1098 Voted YES on prohibiting DC from implementing firearms laws
2011 – HR 822 – Voted YES on Concealed Carry Reciprocity
2007 – Voted NO on Colorado SB07-34 CCW residency restrictions

Margo Dupre

Realtor and the only Republican challenger to Cory Gardner

Diana Bray

Psychologist and climate activist.

Lorena Garcia

Community organizer
Web site:

John Hickenlooper

Former mayor of Denver and Governor of Colorado. Signed 2013 Gun laws, including Universal Background Checks, High Capacity Magazine Ban, and Domestic Violence Relinquishment .In June 2014, told sheriffs he regretted signing the High Capacity Magazine Ban law and that he did so because of a staff commitment, saying,  “No one in our office thought it would get through the legislature.”
Web site:

Andrew Romanoff

Former speaker of the Colorado House, candidate for US Senate in 2010 and nominee for US House CD 6 in 2014.
Brought Democrats into control of Colorado House after 28 years in minority. Only Speaker to serve 2 terms in the last 20+ years.
Brought the mental health community into support of ERPO, worked to get bill introduced in 2018, and was speaker at the introductory press conference.

Stephany Rose Spaulding

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs professor and nominee for US House CD 5 in 2018.
Web site:

Trish Zornio

Biomedical scientist
Web site:

Erik Underwood

A tech entrepreneur running as a Democrat. In 2016 he ran as a Republican for the U.S. Senate.  At the state Republican convention, he stated: “They’re not going to take your guns away if I’m in the United States Senate.”   Web site:

Michelle Ferringno Warren
Immigration activist, community organizer  Web site:

Dave Goldfischer

Professor at the University of Denver, U.S. national security professional

Web site:

Critter Milton
Financial adviser, outdoor enthusiast.

Web site:

This is just a sampling of what Democratic candidates have on their web/Facebook sites. We suspect there is little difference between candidates on gun violence prevention philosophies. Some have not chosen to comment on specific gun violence prevention issues even though we understand they have expressed support elsewhere. This will be updated, and eventually Ceasefire will do a questionnaire.