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Analysts weigh in on challenges of passing gun control measures

Republican political analyst Kelly Maher said passing gun control measures will be difficult, especially as gun sales spiked during the pandemic.

COLORADO, USA — The House Judiciary Committee will consider several pieces of gun legislation this week after the mass shooting in Texas. Proposals Democrats are considering include raising the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle and banning the sale of large-capacity magazines, with exceptions.

Those proposals are unlikely to get support from Republicans in the Senate, who don't hold a majority but can block legislation through the filibuster.

Democrats typically bring forward bills on gun control, so when a Republican state representative in Colorado sponsored one, he knew it was a risk.

"I think there are folks that would like to have conversations about public safety topics like this but they are afraid to take on the topic because of the political repercussions of doing that," said former state Rep. Cole Wist. 

Wist -- who was previously Republican but is no longer affiliated with a political party -- introduced a red flag bill in 2018. It would have allowed someone's guns to be taken away temporarily if they are deemed a significant risk to themselves or others. 

He wasn't re-elected that year. Wist thinks the bill didn't help him.

"I don't regret introducing the bill. Ultimately we weren't successful. But I think it's worth having conversations about this," he said. 

The following year, lawmakers in Colorado introduced a different version of a red flag bill, which passed. Now, after the shooting in Texas, U.S. senators are talking about a similar idea on the federal level.

"Theoretically the issue underlying it is – it is a big deal to take away a constitutional right from a large swath of people without due process," 9NEWS Republican political analyst Kelly Maher said.

Maher said passing gun control measures will be really difficult, especially when gun sales spiked during the pandemic. That means more constituents own a gun.

"You have people who are trying to create gun control laws that don't understand guns and you have people on the other side who haven't yet been sold that any of the ideas proposed will make anything better," she said.

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