DENVER (KDVR) — State lawmakers acted on one of the issues they’ve been calling a priority since day one. Democrats at the Capitol introduced four bills they hope will decrease gun violence. Not everyone is happy about the new legislation.
From improving the state’s red flag law to changing the age someone can purchase a gun, lawmakers at the Capitol are working on several bills in hopes of preventing more shootings.
“The time is now for Democrats to take the lead when it comes to fulfilling our promise to create safer communities and pass real solutions that will cut down on gun violence in our communities,” Senate President Steve Fenberg said at a Thursday press conference unveiling new gun legislation.
Lawmakers introduced a slew of bills regarding guns as a part of the package, saying the state has seen too much bloodshed in recent years.
“More than a thousand gun deaths were recorded in Colorado in 2021 alone — 1,000. The 2022 numbers aren’t yet available, but the final tally looks like, maybe, it could be even worse than that,” Fenberg said.
While the bills were introduced Thursday, gun rights advocates said they knew this was coming.
“This is something that we’ve known was going to happen for several weeks now. Frankly, it’s alarming that they did not introduce the assault weapons ban today,” said Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
New gun laws proposed in Colorado
There was no assault weapons ban proposal Thursday, but the four other bills introduced would:
- Expand who could file a petition for an extreme risk protection order through Colorado’s existing red flag law
- Increase the purchasing age to 21 to buy any firearm in Colorado
- Create a three-day waiting period for anyone to buy a gun in Colorado
- Remove immunity protections for gun manufacturers, opening the door for more lawsuits from victims
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said they are already preparing litigation against the measures, like they did after Boulder introduced its own gun prevention measures. Rhodes interrupted the press conference to let lawmakers know.
Rhodes asked lawmakers a question about the constitutionality of the new measures.
“You are not a part of this press conference. Next question.” Fenberg responded.
“See you in court,” state Sen. Tom Sullivan added, with Rhodes responding, “Yeah, see you there. “Yeah, we’ll be there,” Sullivan said.
That was not only the only interruption. A fire alarm led to the Capitol being evacuated, pausing the press conference, but it did not stop prevention advocates from talking about the new bills. (FOX31 checked with Colorado State Patrol this afternoon. They said the fire alarm could have been caused by dirt or debris. Troopers said a second alarm was accidental.)
Republicans vow to fight proposed gun laws
State Republicans said they are committed to fighting the new bills. House Minority Leader Mike Lynch said, partially, in a statement:
“Up until this moment, Coloradans have been free to exercise their constitutional rights to legally purchase and bear arms. We Republicans are the only ones that are standing between these ongoing legislative assaults on Coloradans’ abilities to protect themselves, their families, and their homes. The radical members of the Democrat caucus have taken advantage of their supermajority to push through an anti-constitution, anti-freedom and anti-Colorado agenda.” said Lynch, of Larimer County.