Colorado lawmaker: OK for some felons to have guns

State Rep. Perry Buck says hunting is an example of a situation where a nonviolent felon should be allowed to possess a gun.

At a time when states across the nation are weighing ways to further restrict access to guns, a Colorado lawmaker wants to make it easier for one group of people to get them – nonviolent criminals.

State Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor, wants to change the current state law that prohibits all felons from purchasing or possessing a gun or archery weaponry.

She has introduced a bill that would allow some felons to possess a firearm, as long as their crimes were not violent felonies or other crimes such as burglary, arson or those involving the use of force, The Denver Post reports.

"They will be allowed to have their constitutional right back," Buck was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "There is a big difference between an income-tax felon and a homicide felon."

She cited hunting as an example of where it might be OK for a nonviolent felon to be allowed to possess a gun.

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Buck did not immediately return a call from MSN News on Wednesday.

She told the Post she got the idea for the bill from her husband, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.

He told the newspaper: "Nonviolent felons are no more likely to commit a violent act in the future than non-felons are, so it is irresponsible to prohibit people from being able to protect their homes or hunt or other legal and good uses for firearms when there is no evidence to suggest that they are going to commit a violent act in the future."

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducts the criminal background checks required for gun purchases in the state. In 2012, it denied 7,362 gun background checks due to criminal records and mental illness reasons, according to the Post. The bureau does not break down its criminal denials by "nonviolent' felonies.

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Buck said her bill hasn't picked up any serious opposition yet.

The proposal drew mixed response from readers of the Denver Post article.

"Finally something I can agree with the Republicans on," one reader wrote.

"I don't understand how in this climate, a law maker can push for this," another reader commented. "Law-abiding citizens are gearing up for what might end up being the biggest legal debate over gun rights since 1994, and instead of focusing on that, Perry Buck is trying to get more rights for felons."

New bills seeking to clamp down on gun violence have flooded state legislatures recently in the wake of the school shooting last month at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed by a 20-year-old gunman, who then committed suicide.

The Obama administration last week also unveiled a series of federal proposals aimed at stemming gun violence.


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