DENVER — Colorado took a major step late Friday toward enacting some of the toughest new gun measures that have been introduced since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut touched off a national debate about gun control.
After more than 12 hours of emotional and bitterly divided debate, the Democratic-controlled State Senate gave preliminary approval to a package of gun bills. At its heart are measures that would require universal background checks for private gun sales and limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.
Other measures would create a fee for background checks; require those convicted of domestic abuse to surrender their firearms; and require residents applying for permits to carry concealed weapons to take in-person training classes, outlawing the handful of online-only courses now offered in the state.
If the bills win final approval — they must now survive a recorded vote from lawmakers this week — they would be Colorado’s first new firearms restrictions in more than a decade. Their passage in a state with a deep history and culture of hunting, sport shooting and gun ownership would also represent a significant victory for gun control advocates.
To Democrats, who now control both chambers of the Statehouse as well as…