Rep. Rhonda Fields leads Dem fight against gun bill

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DENVER — The House gave initial approval Monday to a proposal that would alter state background checks on gun purchases, despite strong opposition from Rep. Rhonda Fields, whose son was murdered seven years ago.

Republicans noted that Monday’s voice vote indicated bipartisan support for House Bill 1048, which would do away with CBI background checks on gun purchases and rely solely on FBI background checks going forward.

“The second background check by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is completely unnecessary,” said Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, the bill’s sponsor. “Democrats and Republicans agree that we need to ensure dangerous felons should not have access to a firearm. However, as today’s vote showed, both Democrats and Republicans believe we should remove redundant background checks.”

Meanwhile, Fields, D-Aurora, argued that the second background check by the state is important in that it catches individuals the federal system often overlooks — namely, those subject to restraining orders.

“Already this session, the House Republicans have passed bills to allow anyone to carry a concealed handgun without a permit and to allow business owners to shoot fleeing robbers even if their own lives aren’t threatened,” Fields said. “Maximizing the number of guns is no way to stem the violence that afflicts our society.”

In 2005, Fields’ son, Javad Marshall Fields, and his girlfriend, Vivian Wolfe, were gunned down by gang members because Fields was set to testify against them in another murder trial.

A final vote on the bill in the House could come as early as Tuesday.

In the Senate, the bill’s prime sponsor is a Democrat, Sen. Lois Tochtrop of Thornton.

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