• By Lynn Bartels

    The Rev. Wolfgang Stahlberg, right, prays at the state Capitol on Thursday as Tom Sullivan, left, father of Alex Sullivan, who was killed in the Aurora

    The Rev. Wolfgang Stahlberg, right, prays at the state Capitol on Thursday as Tom Sullivan, left, father of Alex Sullivan, who was killed in the Aurora theater shooting, bows his head. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

    Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of a game-changing news conference at the state Capitol when Democrats unveiled their package of gun-control measures.

    Republicans denounced the legislation, and even some Democrats were opposed.

    “I think that’s when the tone of the session changed,” said Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver.

    Battle lines were drawn, not only on guns but a variety of measures, and veterans proclaimed it one of the nosiest and nastiest sessions in decades.

    The battle then moved from the Capitol to state Senate districts, where two senators were recalled by voters and a third resigned rather than go through an election.

    This year, Republicans have introduced at least eight gun bills. A House committee on Thursday heard the first, House Bill 1041, by Reps. Jared Wright of Fruita and Chris Holbert of Parker. It would allow qualified citizens to carry concealed handguns without needing a permit.

    About a dozen people signed up to testify.

    But crowds are expected when Republicans present their bills to repeal or tinker with last year’s gun measures, said Joe Neville, lobbyist for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. That list includes laws that expand the expansion of background checks and a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

    Also on Thursday, religious leaders from the metro area urged civility during the gun debate.

    The clergy also championed the tougher gun bills that were passed last year by Democrats, but said the issue is not about politics.

    “This is not Democrat and Republican. This is not partisan whatsoever,” said Rabbi Joseph Black of Temple Emanuel. “As a person of faith, I think the more violence we can reduce, the more God’s presence can be felt in our state.”

    Amen to that, said the Rev. Del Phillips of the House Worship Center.

    “Our hope is beyond the politics, all of the legislative body here would find themselves reaching a higher scale to be able to define what is right for our community,” he said.

    Black and Phillips joined with 10 other clergy members at the Capitol, but Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, who led the fight against last year’s gun bills, said those clergy are not representative of all faith leaders in the state.

    “I know a lot of clergy who carry,” the Colorado Springs Republican said.

    Among those at the news conference: Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed during the massacre at an Aurora movie theater in 2012. He nodded to the religious leaders.

    “These guys have been with the families from the first day,” he said, “and they continue to stand with us throughout this.”

    Lynn Bartels: 303-954-5327, lbartels@denverpost.com or twitter.com/lynn_bartels



    GOP gun bills in the house:

    HB 1041: allows carrying concealed handguns without permits, Reps. Jared Wright and Chris Holbert.

    HB1151: repeals ammunition magazine prohibition, Reps. Holbert and Lori Saine.

    HB 1097: sales and use tax holiday for firearms, ammo and accessories, Rep. Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff .

    GOP gun bills in the Senate:

    SB 094: repeals requirement for background checks for private transfers and repeal fees for checks, Sen. George Rivera.

    SB 038: prohibits governments from restricting firearms in an emergency, Sen. Scott Renfroe.

    SB 090: expands exemption on background checks to include step, Sen. Randy Baumgardner.

    SB 100: repeals magazine ban, by Sens. Baumgardner, Rivera.

    SB 135: allows firearms purchases from non-contiguous states if legal in both states, Sen. Greg Brophy.

    Read more: Colorado lawmakers renew gun debate – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_25031357/colorado-lawmakers-renew-gun-debate#ixzz2s27MSPfR
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    Posted by Dana West @ 7:25 pm for 2nd Amendment, Colorado politics |

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