Colorado House passes assault weapons ban but its prospects of becoming law uncertain


Denver – Colorado's Democratic-controlled House on Sunday approved a bill that would ban the sale and transfer of semi-automatic firearms, a major step for the legislation after roughly the same bill was quickly killed by Democrats. last year.

The bill, which passed by a 35-27 vote, is now on its way to the Democratic-led state Senate. If it passes there, it could bring Colorado in line with 10 other states, including California, New York and Illinois – That they have bans on semi-automatic pistols.

But even in a state plagued by some of the worst mass shootings in the nation, this legislation faces headwinds.

Colorado's political history is purple, changing to blue recently. The bill's chances of success in the state Senate are lower than in the House, where Democrats have a 46-19 majority and a larger far-left flank. Governor Jared Polis, also a Democrat, has expressed his distrust for this ban.

A similar bill died in committee last year, with some Democratic lawmakers citing concerns about the sweep of a ban and promises they made to constituents to prevent government overreach from affecting the rights of most gun owners.

Democrats passed and Polis signed four less expansive gun control laws last year. These include raising the age to purchase any gun from 18 to 21; establish a three-day waiting period between the purchase and receipt of a gun; strengthen the state's red flag law; and roll back some legal protections for the firearms industry, exposing it to lawsuits from victims of gun violence.

These laws were signed months after the deaths of five people at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs last year. The state will soon mark the 25th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting that killed 13 people. Other mass shootings in Colorado include 12 people died in 2012 at an Aurora movie theater i 10 people died in 2021 at a Boulder supermarket.

“This is the state where the modern era of mass shooting began with Columbine,” said Democratic Rep. Javier Mabrey in urging his fellow lawmakers to join other states banning semi-automatic weapons.

Republicans denounced the legislation as a burdensome encroachment on the US Constitution's Second Amendment. They argued that mental illness and people who don't value life – not guns – are the problems that need to be addressed. People with bad intent can use other weapons, such as knives, to harm others, they argued.

Democrats countered that semi-automatic weapons can cause far more damage in a short period of time.

“In Aurora, when the shooter walked into that theater and opened fire,” Mabrey said, “and in less than 90 seconds he shot through a room full of people. You can't do that with a knife, you can't do that do with a knife.”


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