Colorado Gov. Signs 4 Gun Control Bills—Strengthening State’s Restrictions Amid Frequent Shootings
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed four gun control bills into law Friday morning that will make the state—which has a long history of notorious mass shootings—one of the strictest in the nation in terms of gun violence prevention.
One of the laws raises the age to buy any firearm from 18 to 21, and another creates a three-day waiting period between when someone can purchase and receive a gun.
Another law strengthens Colorado’s red flag law by allowing licensed medical care providers, mental health-care providers, educators and district attorneys to be able to petition for one’s firearms to be temporarily taken if they’re a risk to themselves or others; before the change, just a family or household member or a law enforcement officer could petition for that.
The final law repeals the state’s current law that limits civil lawsuits against the firearm industry to those that claim a “defect in the design or manufacture,” meaning firearm and ammunition producers will now be at higher risk of being held responsible after shootings.
There was another bill proposed this legislative session that would have created a ban on assault weapons like some pistols, shotguns and rifles, but it was postponed indefinitely on April 19.
So far in 2023, Colorado has had four mass shootings resulting in a total of three people killed and 15 injured, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as any one event in which four or more people are injured or killed in gunfire, excluding the shooter. The same database shows the state has had 39 mass shootings resulting in 65 killed and 157 injured since 2020. Beyond that, Colorado has had a long history with gun violence—the state witnessed the 1999 Columbine shooting, the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, the 2021 King Soopers shooting and, most recently, the 2022 Colorado Springs Club Q shooting.
The bills made it through the legislature despite attempts from Republicans to prevent them through filibusters. Republican lawmakers took issue with all four bills, according to a report from AP, saying they encroach on the Second Amendment, discourage people from being honest with physicians over fear of having their weapons seized and could prevent people from defending themselves. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a group supportive of Second Amendment Rights in the state, tweeted that they have already filed a lawsuit against waiting period and age restriction bills.
The new gun laws make the once-purple Colorado’s policies much closer to those of blue states. Colorado joins California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Rhode Island in making the purchase age 21, according to AP. California, Delaware, New Jersey and New York have also passed legislation like Colorado’s bill making it easier to target the gun industry.
Colorado governor signs gun control bills after massacre (AP)
Colorado governor signs four gun bills into law in a historic change to the state’s firearm regulations (Colorado Sun)