Assault Weapon Ban Passes in Colorado House, Proceeds to Senate

( – The Colorado House of Representatives passed legislation that would ban selling or transferring semi-automatic firearms within the state, representing a big step for state House Democrats after they killed a similar bill last year.

On Sunday, April 14th, House Bill 1292 passed the Democratic-controlled Colorado House in a vote of 35 to 27. It will now make its way to the Colorado Senate, which is also dominated by a Democratic majority. If it passes, it’ll head to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis to be signed, putting Colorado on the same page as 10 other states that have passed restrictions on semi-automatic firearms, such as New York, Illinois, and California.

Although Colorado has historically been a “purple” state of mixed political affiliation, it has recently shifted blue. Despite the shift and the fact that the state has been plagued by some of the worst mass shootings in the country, the new legislation’s chances of success aren’t as certain in the Senate where Democrats have a slimmer majority. Polis has also expressed wariness about the ban.

A similar bill failed to pass a state House committee, but it wasn’t the GOP who ultimately stopped it, but Democrats. They cited concerns over the broadness of the ban and promised their constituents that they would avoid endorsing government overreach. Instead, four gun control bills that were less expansive were passed and signed by the governor, which included mandatory three-day waiting periods, raising the gun-purchasing age from 18 to 21, strengthening so-called “red flag” laws, and lifting some of the legal protections for manufacturers in the event of litigation from victims of gun violence.

Five months before those laws, five people were shot to death at a Colorado Springs nightclub. The state is also known for the Columbine High School massacre of 1999, which killed 13, and other notable mass shootings in U.S. history, such as the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, which killed 12, and a more recent massacre in 2021 that left 10 dead at a supermarket in Boulder.

Democratic Rep. Javier Mabrey said “the modern era of the mass shooting” started in Colorado. Mabrey supports the semi-automatic firearms ban, noting that a knife isn’t capable of such large body counts. Meanwhile, Republicans opposing the legislation consider it an infringement on the Second Amendment and believe the real problem is mental illness rather than the weapon that’s used.

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