“They all had a high-capacity magazine clip in common,” Fields said. Lives were saved when the shooters paused to reload and “someone was able to tackle that person,” she said.
High-capacity magazines were used in massacres at Virginia Tech in 2007, Fort Hood in 2009 and Sandy Hook Elementary School. James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in the Aurora movie theater shooting, was equipped with a 100-round magazine, police have said.
The gun-control debate is eclipsing other issues in Colorado. About a third of residents own at least one firearm, a legacy of the state’s frontier heritage.
About 80 percent of Coloradans agree that private gun sales should go through a licensed dealer and be subject to a background check, and 61 percent approve of a ban on high- capacity magazines, according to a telephone survey of 905 voters by Keating Research Inc., Dec. 17-20. The margin for error was plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Colorado law currently requires a background check when purchasing weapons at a gun show or through a licensed dealer. Checks on gun show sales were overwhelmingly approved by voters after the Columbine massacre.
Lobbying intensified on both sides of the gun debate after Democratic leaders indicated in January that they’d introduce a package of bills. Gun-rights supporters sponsored ads on local radio stations, while Mayors Against Illegal Guns, affiliated with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, put at least four lobbyists to work in the state capital, according to filings with the Secretary of State. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg.
“Every time I open my email, I have 50 or 60 on this issue — it just goes on,” said State Sen. Lois Tochtrop, a Thornton Democrat. “The vast majority of them are against not only the high-powered magazines, but all the legislation coming forward.”