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One El Paso County gun seller says controversial liability bill would put him out of business

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- A controversial Senate bill that would make gun sellers and manufacturers liable for violence brought on a victim by the firearm is receiving pushback from gun sellers and law enforcement.

This week, El Paso County Sheriff Joe Roybal and the owner of KTM firearms in Peyton, Craig Williams, testified against SB23-168. It's a bill Williams claims would put him out of business if a lawsuit was brought against him and his business.

"Holding me liable for somebody else's action is wrong. You couldn't hold Ford liable or any other motor vehicle company liable for someone drinking and driving," Williams said.

Williams told 13 Investigates he, and other gun sellers in El Paso County, are already following all laws related to mandatory background checks, and adding this law would be detrimental to his opportunities as an entrepreneur.

"It's just going to be a crash for the industry for us here in Colorado," Williams said.

El Paso County Sheriff Roybal testified against the bill too, claiming it would give gun violence victims the ability to take civil action but will "not take away their pain."

"As a matter of fact, the people who take their own lives or drink alcohol in excess and kill somebody as a result of a DUI, do they have the ability to access the alcohol manufacturers and hold them accountable," Roybal questioned.

The bill's sponsors aim to reform what they say are "broad protections" at the federal level that give little resource to victims of gun violence.

“Colorado is home to one of the most punitive laws against gun violence survivors in the country. Colorado law gives a set of protections to the firearms industry that few other businesses have. These laws shield them from accountability and must be changed,” Democratic Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis said. “This legislation will level the playing field by removing those extra protections and allowing legitimate lawsuits to move forward, ensuring the gun industry is no longer given special treatment and improving gun violence survivors’ ability to seek the justice they deserve.”

SB23-168 is slated to be read on second reading and then voted on by members of Colorado's Senate on Friday. If passed, it will head to the House of Representatives.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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