After laying pretty low on gun control last year, Democrats in Colorado are expected to push to a number of new controls when the 2021 session gets underway, including a five day waiting period for gun purchases as well as a mandatory gun storage law. According to the Colorado Sun, a third measure requiring gun owners to report lost and stolen firearms or else face criminal sanctions is also on the table.
Of the three measures set to be introduced this year, the waiting-period bill is likely to be the most controversial.
Ten states and the District of Columbia have waiting periods that apply to purchase of guns, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Hawaii has the most stringent of those laws, requiring 14 days between when someone buys a gun and when they can access it. In California, the waiting period is 10 days.
Rep. Steven Woodrow, a Denver Democrat, is working with Sullivan on the waiting-period measure. The plan is to push for a five-day waiting period in Colorado, though that hasn’t been finalized.
The fact that Woodrow has proposed a five-day waiting period, as opposed to the 10-day wait in California (or 14 days in Hawaii), is a sign that his bill could face pushback from some of his fellow Democrats in rural and exurban legislative districts. It’s certainly going to face opposition from Republicans, though they’re in the minority in both chambers.
Rep. Dave Williams, a Colorado Springs Republican and fierce opponent of firearm regulations, said the bills represent “onerous restrictions” on gun owners.
“I haven’t read the bills, but just from the general concept of it I think it’s very likely that I would be opposed to all of them,” said Rep. Dave Williams, a Colorado Springs Republican. “I don’t think that’s the way we need to address the issue. Violence will happen regardless of the weapons that are available on the street.”
He thinks Colorado voters will push back on Democrats if they are successful in passing the legislation. “If they attempt to engage in this overreach it could very well harm their prospects in 2022,” Williams said.
Democrats in Colorado introduced similar storage laws and lost-and-stolen reporting requirements in 2020, but neither became law as the state party tried its best to shy away from gun control in an election year. Now that the election is over, however, all bets are off.
Virtually all of the legislation that Democrats plan on prioritizing are aimed at legal gun owners, ignoring the fact that the last round of gun control measures passed in the state (which also targeted legal gun owners and buyers) has done nothing to make the state safer. In fact, violent crime in Colorado has been on the increase ever since. In 2020, Denver and the suburb of Aurora, for instance, both saw a record-high number of homicides despite the state’s universal background check law and ban on “high capacity” magazines.
In order to effectively combat the violence, lawmakers and law enforcement need to focus on the individuals that are driving it. Laws aimed squarely at legal gun owners miss the target, but unfortunately those appear to be the priorities for Democrats in Denver this year.