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The proposed changes would include bans on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, and expanded background checks for purchases.
“I tell you what these things are, these are all feel-good proposals, because at the end of the day, what do they do to prevent a mass shooter?” Keene asked. “The Senate’s where the action’s going to be,” he said. “The House is sort of sitting back, and you can almost hear the House republican leadership saying under their breath, you know, go ahead. We’ve got a few members that wouldn’t mind sitting in the Senate. If you do this, maybe they will. So the Senate leadership is much more cautious.”
Keen is a vocal figure for gun lobbying and the NRA, alongside Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
In a recent visit to Denver, Keene met with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and state lawmakers about proposed gun control laws. He declined to meet with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has enacted the first major gun control measure following the Sandy Hook high school massacre. “There really isn’t any reasonable discussion you can have with him,” Keene said
Following the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that killed 12, Hickenlooper has called for universal background checks, even on private sales. This marks a shift from his earlier policy. In the days after the Aurora shooting, he said stricter gun control laws would not have prevented it.
“I think Gov. Hickenlooper had it right after the Aurora shooting. He said it’s not the laws, it’s these kinds of people,” Keene said.
Hickenlooper has also proposed expanded mental health services. But in a January address he added, “It’s not enough to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons.”
Colorado Senate President John Morse also proposed making weapons manufacturers liable for harm caused by their products, which conflicts with federal law banning such liability.
The Colorado legislature has already rejected several gun violence proposals from the GOP, notably including a bill that would allow school employees to carry concealed weapons.