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Colorado governor signs gun control bills, reaction hostile


08:54, March 21, 2013

DENVER, Colorado, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Within minutes of the Colorado governor signing historic gun control legislation Wednesday, this western state's pro gun forces responded with anger and action, calling for the governor's resignation and repeal of the measures.

"Not one of Colorado's 62 Sheriff's supports the bills and say they can't be enforced," said John Caldara on Twitter Wednesday, echoing Weld County Sheriff's John Cooke's statement Monday he would not enforce the legislation if signed.

As expected, Col. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three apparently modest gun control measures Wednesday that expanded background checks on gun purchases and limited the size of ammunition magazines.

Response from pro-gun forces was swift, with bullet-maker Magpul Industries announcing it will vacate its plant 30 miles from Denver, and social media overwhelmingly opposing the legislation.

"Good luck with a second term bucko," tweeted Colorado Springs gun maker Ryan W. in reference to the Democratic governor' s anticipated reelection bid in 2014. "Gun control is where political careers go to die."

Despite being a firearms-friendly state and National Rifle Association (NRA) stronghold, Colorado joins a handful of states responding to last December's school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut - that killed 20 children and 6 educators - with new gun control laws.

The state has been scarred by some of the deadliest incidents of mass gun violence in recent U.S. history, including the Aurora movie theater shooting that killed 12 last July 20, and the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed 13.

In Aurora last summer, shooting suspect James Holmes acquired a staggering 6,000 rounds of ammunition online in a few weeks prior to the shootings, including a 100-round magazine that he unloaded into an unsuspecting movie theater audience.

Colorado prosecutors are expected to announce April 1 they will seek the death penalty against Holmes, who faces 166 counts of murder and attempted murder.

Local Aurora Democrat Rhonda Fields said the governor signed " common-sense legislation that reduces gun violence in our communities by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic violence offenders and the seriously mentally ill."

Hickenlooper's signatures come exactly eight months after dozens of people were shot at the Aurora theater, and the day after the Colorado Corrections Department chief Tom Clements was shot and killed at his home by an unknown assailant.

Surprisingly, on a national level, the leader of the Democrat- controlled Senate Tuesday retreated from aggressive gun control legislation - dropping a proposed assault weapons ban from the chamber's gun-control package - a blow to supporters of the ban.

But powerful, east coast politicians are lining up to continue the gun control fight, with Piers Morgan and his 3,364,555 Twitter followers Wednesday threatening to publish the names of congress members who oppose the proposed ban on assault weapons.

Republicans in Colorado said the Democratic legislature was getting its marching orders from the pro- gun control White House and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The Colorado governor signed three bills Wednesday: HB 1224, limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds; HB 1229, requires universal background checks for gun sales or transfers; and HB 1228, requires gun customers to pay for the costs of the background checks.

The state's gun control bills have gained national attention since they were first proposed in January, drawing opposition from the NRA and many who oppose any restrictions on gun purchases or ownership.

National surveys say that while 50 percent of Americans support gun ownership, a large majority also supports legislation to curb bloodshed created by firearms.

FBI Uniform Crime Reports state in the Unites States, 8,775 murders were committed by firearms in 2010. By contrast in Britain, with strict gun-control laws, there were 58 gun-related homicides in 2011.

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