Colorado’s governor signed bills Wednesday that place new restrictions on firearms, signaling a change for Democrats who have traditionally shied away from gun control in a state with a pioneer tradition of gun ownership and self-reliance.
The legislation thrust Colorado into the national spotlight as a potential test of how far the country might be willing to go with new gun restrictions after the mass killings at an Aurora movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed bills that require background checks for private and online gun sales and ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
The debate in the Democratic-controlled Legislature was intense, and Republicans warned that voters would make Democrats pay. The bills didn’t get a single Republican vote.
The bills’ approval came eight months after dozens of people were shot in Aurora, and a day after the executive director of the state Corrections Department, Tom Clements, was shot and killed at his home. Hickenlooper signed the legislation right after speaking with reporters about Clements’ slaying.
The bills, which take effect July 1, signal a historic change for Democrats.