Colorado prison chief fatally shot 1 day before Gov. signs tough gun laws

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A Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver is displayed for customers to rent at the Los Angeles Gun Club on December 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Gun enthusiasts rent the the weapon to try out before making a purchase at a gun store . Leading firearms maker Smith & Wesson reports almost 50 percent increase in sales revenue.

Credit:

Kevork Djansezian

Colorado prison chief Tom Clements was shot and killed at his rural home last night, just one day before Gov. John Hickenlooper signed some of the country's toughest gun legislation into law.

Clements was shot to death around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday by an unknown assailant when he answered his front door, reports CBS.

The shooter remains on the loose and so far police have no suspects. 

Police said Clements, the director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, may have been specifically targeted.

"We know of his position and realize that it is a possible motive for a crime such as this," Lt. Jeff Kramer, spokesman for the El Paso County Sheriff's office told the Denver Post.

"It's a quick, rapidly evolving investigation. We've been on scene through the night."

Today, Gov. Hickenlooper signed three of the toughest gun bills in the country into law, the New York Times reported

The new laws cap ammunition magazine rounds at 15, according to the New York Times.

They also expand background checks on firearms to sales and transfers between private parties and online purchases, the New York Times reported. Previously, background checks were only required when purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. The new laws charge gun buyers for these background checks.

Republicans are firmly against the bills, saying they will not prevent violent crime and will hurt business in the state and residents' ability to protect themselves.

Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado State Shooting Association, told ABC7 that the law limiting magazine rounds will cost Colorado jobs and tourist money.

"Hunters will avoid coming here," Fabian said. "Weapons accessories manufacturers have already threatened to leave."

According to ABC, manufacturer Magpul Industries posted to Facebook that it plans to leave the Colorado.

"We will start our transition out of the state almost immediately, and we will prioritize moving magazine manufacturing operations first," the post said.

“We’re all in shock here,” state Senator Greg Brophy, a Republican, told NBC News today. “It turns out this guy who everybody thought was a moderate Democrat is actually a gun-control governor.”

He added: “If Republicans are returned to control we will repeal these bills immediately.”