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'Assault weapons' ban passes Colorado House

Photo from DCF Guns website

The proposal to ban so-called "assault weapons" is now on its way to the Colorado Senate after House legislators passed the measure during a rare legislation session on Sunday.

The measure is expected to be assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

A majority of Democrats approved House Bill 1292 on a 35-27 vote, with nine Democrats voting against.

The vote followed a debate of more than three hours.

Sponsored by Reps. Tim Hernandez and Elisabeth Epps, HB1292 would prohibit 13 types of "assault" weapons, along with adding a definition of "assault weapons" into state law. It prohibits manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, offering to sell or transferring ownership of an assault weapon. The bill also bans a person from possessing a "rapid-fire trigger activator." 

Supporters argued that the so-called "assault weapons" have no place in society, and that Colorado cannot wait for Congress to enact a federal ban. Critics countered that the bill would ban 80% to 85% of guns in Colorado — and it is, therefore, unconstitutional. 

Opponents promise a lawsuit if the bill were signed into law. Gov. Jared Polis previously expressed skepticism about a state ban, pointing out that people can just drive across the state line into Wyoming to purchase those weapons. He has indicated he prefers a federal ban. Polis sponsored federal legislation banning assault weapons when he was a member of Congress. 

During a debate on Friday, House lawmakers adopted several amendments during the debate, notably that gun dealers who sell or purchase the weapons listed in the bill could be subject to financial penalties and reporting to the Department of Revenue for further action.

Hernandez argued that the bill "is essential for the safety of our communities." He noted that Friday was the first time in Colorado history that the state House had considered such a legislation.

Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, described the measure as a "takings" and called the proposal a serious attack on the Second Amendment.

The bill's fate in the Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to be determined by Sen. Dylan Roberts, D-Summit County. Last year, Roberts told the Summit Daily News that there are strong passions on both sides of the issue, but that he takes the Second Amendment seriously.

·Apr. 14, 2024, 5:57 pm

"Under the legislation, businesses and individuals would no longer be able to sell or transfer these weapons, but current owners would be allowed to keep their guns. 

House bill 1292 would define an assault weapon as a “semiautomatic rifle” that uses detachable magazines and has one of a number of features. Those include a pistol grip, a folding stock, a barrel shroud or a threaded barrel. The bill would also ban certain .50 caliber rifles, semi automatic pistols, shotguns with revolving cylinders and semiautomatic shotguns.

The bill passed the house 35 to 27, with three members absent. Democrats hold a supermajority in the chamber and could lose 13 votes, but they only lost eight. The bill now heads to the state Senate."

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