Five Gun Laws Are Making Their Way Through Colorado’s Legislature – Here’s What You Need To Know

Source: Milwaukee Independent

Colorado’s House and Senate have been hard at work over the past few months – placing a strong focus on gun safety and gun control. Just in the past few days, the Legislature has passed five new gun laws aimed at reducing gun violence in The Centennial State. Here’s what gun owners need to know!

House Bill 1292 Passed In April

Also known as HB24-1292, House Bill 1292 was passed by the House in April with a 35-27 majority vote. State Reps. Elisabeth Epps and Tim Hernandez sponsored the bill, which would ban the manufacture, import, sale, or purchase of assault weapons in Colorado. 

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The bill would also define what an assault weapon is. “I ask us to commit, colleagues, to never forgetting, as begged by community members, family members, and children themselves over 25 years, and every year since,” Hernandez said. 

Five More Gun Laws Making Progress

Falling in line with what has been a year for gun reform, Colorado’s House passed three other gun control laws this past Saturday – one on gun dealer licensing, one on insurance requirements for gun owners, and one on taxes on any sales of guns and ammunition.

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On Monday, just two days after the House made its big splash, Colorado’s Senate passed two additional gun restriction laws on concealed-carry permits and firearms storage in vehicles. Here’s a closer look at the massive weekend Colorado just had.

5. House Bill 1174

House Bill 1174 has been floating around for several months now. It passed its first committee back in February and was approved by the House the following month. The Senate followed suit and passed it on Monday with a 20-14 vote. It’s now up to Gov. Jared Polis to sign it. 

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The bill aims to intensify the requirements for anyone interested in a concealed-carry permit. In order to obtain one, Colorado residents would have to take in-person training, live-fire exercises, eight hours of coursework, and pass a test. 

4. House Bill 1348

The second bill voted on by Colorado’s Senate on Monday was HB-24 1348, also known as House Bill 1348. It passed the Senate with a 21-13 majority vote – which means it was even more favored than HB 1174. Still, it faced its fair share of controversy. 

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If the bill makes its way to Gov. Polis’s desk, then it would require gun owners to leave their firearms in a ‘locked, hard-sided container’ whenever they’re left in a vehicle. Moderate Democrats and Republicans took exception to the criminal penalties, which is still being argued.

3. House Bill 1270

Democrats would need at least 33 votes to pass a bill through the House. Luckily for them, that’s exactly how many votes they received en route to passing House Bill 1270 on Saturday – the first of three gun laws passed by the House that day. 

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The bill would require gun owners to carry liability insurance that covers injury, death, or property damage caused by ‘any accidental or unintentional discharge of the firearm.’ You might already have this if you have homeowners or renters insurance. 

2. House Bill 1349

House Bill 1349 secured much more support in Colorado’s House on Saturday – passing with a 44-18 majority vote. Of the three bills passed by the House on Saturday, this one was by far the most favored among House Democrats. 

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If it passes the Senate and is signed by Gov. Polis, Colorado voters will get to vote in November on whether or not the state should enforce a 9% excise tax on ammo vendors, gun dealers, and firearms manufacturers. The money from those taxes would go toward grants, schools, and more. 

1. House Bill 1353

House Bill 1353 didn’t receive as much support as HB 1349, but it still received 40 votes (to 21 Nays) – which is seven more than what was needed. Like the two we discussed above, HB 1353 is now on its way to the Senate for another vote. 

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If passed, the bill would require retail gun owners to obtain a state license, in addition to the federal license they should already have. Shop owners would also be expected to undergo training to better secure the weapons in their arsenal. 

Another Bill To Better Monitor Gun Sales

The recent flurry of gun laws to make their way through the Legislature are just the latest in what has been a consistent flow of gun reform in the state. For example, in January, the Colorado Senate passed a new bill to reduce gun violence. 

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The bill is called SB24-003, or Senate Bill 003, and it would send additional funds to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation ‘to investigate particular illegal activity involving firearms statewide.’

Democrats Vs. Republicans

It doesn’t matter if it’s the House or Senate, these gun control bills are primarily being supported by Democrats. Meanwhile, Republicans are doing whatever they can to stop their Democratic counterparts from passing gun restriction laws. 

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On one hand, Democrats want to strengthen gun control by adding new restrictions and improving existing restrictions. On the other hand, Republicans want to preserve the Second Amendment 

Democrats Control All Three Phases

The good news for Democrats (and bad news for Republicans) is that the Dems control all three phases of Colorado’s Legislature – the state Senate, the state House, and the Governor’s office. Having a majority in all three makes it easy to pass legislation. 

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In an effort to avoid a potential filibuster by the Republicans, Democratic leaders limited the debate for each measure listed above to 90 minutes to two hours. Many Democrats have used this tactic to silence Republicans when needed most. 

Colorado Handing Out Grants To Reduce Gun Violence

Colorado is also doing its part to ensure organizations have the funds to properly reduce gun violence in communities across the state. This was evidenced by a Colorado state agency accepting applications for new grants to fund gun reform initiatives. 

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The funding would come from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention and would allow organizations to receive up to $100,000 from a total of $500,000 in funding. 

Legislator Leaves Gun In State Capitol Bathroom

In other Colorado news, one state legislator – Republican state Rep. Don Wilson – is being blasted for leaving a loaded 9 mm Glock handgun on the shelf of a single-occupancy bathroom at the State Capitol building. 

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The gun was left unattended for roughly 20 minutes and was eventually discovered by janitorial staff. The gun was returned to Wilson, who took ‘complete accountability’ for the incident and apologized for his major gaffe.

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Ryan Handson

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