DENVER - A proposal to hold sellers and owners of assault weapons liable for damages in Colorado shootings got initial approval in the state Senate.
Democratic senators pass the bill on a 3-2 committee vote over Republicans' objections on Monday.
The bill would set different liability standards for manufacturer, sellers, and owners of assault weapons, with owners having the strictest standard. It would be up to juries to decide individual cases.
A federal law protects gun makers and sellers from liability for crimes committed with their products. But Democratic Senate President John Morse says he crafted his bill to avoid that conflict.
"Keep in mind that this bill will not affect anyone until something very bad happens," Morse told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "But at that point the manufacturer, owner, seller and shooter will have failed to keep the assault weapon out of dangerous and criminal hands. Under this bill, and in that circumstance, they may or may not be liable."
Constitutional law professor David Koppel slammed the bill and says it's poorly drafted.
The bill still needs a full Senate vote. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has not said if he'll sign it.
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