Colorado Democrats Advance Anti-Firearms Bill

The Colorado House of Representatives advanced a bill that would forbid semi-automatic guns to be sold and transferred.

The measure was approved by the state’s lower legislative chamber—which is controlled by Democrats—on Sunday, April 14, with a vote of 35-27. It now heads to the state Senate, which is also run by a Democrat majority. The House’s approval of the legislation comes after a similar measure was promptly rejected by Democrats last year.

Colorado’s potential ban would be the latest of its kind to be enacted across the country.

Amid the continuous debate about the balance between protecting citizens against gun violence and the rights awarded to them in the Second Amendment, some lawmakers argue for greater restrictions against firearms to prevent additional shootings while others say Americans need access to guns to protect themselves.

Laws aimed at restricting the sale and possession of firearms, especially semi-automatics, have already been passed in states like California, Illinois and New York. Although the Centennial State managed to pass the semi-automatic weapons ban in the House, an uphill battle is expected as it is presented in the Senate.

The debate for the bill was limited to five hours on Friday, April 12, as sponsors of the legislation cited tragedies that have occurred in the state of Colorado as reasons for needing to pass a broad ban on semi-automatic guns, with certain exceptions.

The 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School, the 2012 massacre at a movie theater in Aurora and a 2021 shooting at a supermarket in Boulder have all been mentioned as evidence to support the pending ban. Each tragedy included a semi-automatic gun that killed more than 10 people and injured dozens of others.

In addition to Republican push-back, the proposed ban is also still lacking a public endorsement from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D), who has previously expressed concern about such measures.

In 2023, the Democrat-led legislature passed four gun control bills that were later signed into law by the governor. The measures included updated rules that increase the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21, requiring a three-day waiting period between buying a gun and receiving it and opening the door for more legal challenges to be brought against firearms dealers in cases of shootings.