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Colorado Democrats Leading Push For New Gun Control Laws In Washington

(CBS4) - Colorado Democrats are leading a push for new gun control laws on Capitol Hill. Three new measures made it through the House Judiciary Commitee on Tuesday in Washington. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, and Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado's 4th Congressional District, both sit on that committee.

Joe Neguse
Rep. Joe Neguse speaks during a press conference at the University of Texas at El Paso on Sept. 6, 2019. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship was in El Paso for a field hearing focused on border issues and recent violence against immigrants in the United States. (credit: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)

One of the bills, which was introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat who represents Colorado's 1st Congressional District, calls for a nationwide ban on high capacity magazines. More than half of all recent mass shootings, including three this summer, involved the use of high-capacity magazines. Colorado already bans magazines over 15 rounds.

Diana DeGette
Rep. Diana DeGette (file photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The second measure would prohibit people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from possessing firearms. And another bill would incentivize states to establish red flag laws like Colorado's, which allows judges to order the seizure of guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others. Many Republicans spoke out against it, expressing concerns about due process.

Buck introduced an amendment to the bill that would make the law apply specifically to known gang members, who he says are responsible for 80% of all gun homicides. But Democrats killed that amendment.

"We need to get guns out of the hands of violent criminals. That starts with law enforcement another tool to disarm gang members. We should target red flags against known criminals, especially gang members. This approach will have the most meaningful impact in reducing gun violence," Buck said.

Neguse said he favors changes to federal law, and hopes Republicans will too.

"If my colleagues are serious about addressing gun violence, about addressing suicide -- Colorado happens to have the 10th highest rate of suicides in the United States, 50% of those involve a firearm -- if my colleagues are serious about that, I would hope that they would join us tonight in supporting this bill so that we can finally do something about the pervasive gun violence that is ravaging communities across our country," he said during Tuesday's hearing.

While the bills have support in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, there's an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate. President Donald Trump at first seemed to favor some changes in gun laws several weeks ago, but it's unclear where he stands now.

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