Colorado Democrats prepping gun ban bill out of public view

Colorado Democrats prepping gun ban bill out of public view
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Not that gun owners haven’t been able to get a sneak peek at the anti-gun legislation anyway, thanks to a helpful leak. And as we’ve previously discussed, the so-called “Mass Shooting Prevention Act” wouldn’t actually prevent mass shootings. Instead, it criminalizes the sale and manufacture of vast numbers of commonly-owned firearms, including rifles, shotguns, and even semi-automatic pistols.

Though the legislature is now officially in session the gun ban bill has yet to be introduced, and one of the main sponsors says he and other lawmakers are working behind the scenes to put the finishing touches on the anti-civil rights legislation.

The draft legislation has already sparked conservative backlash and lawsuit preparation from the local branch of the National Rifle Association. While some Democratic leaders have given it tentative support, others have refrained from taking a stance — along with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, who’s been noncommittal when questioned about the bill. It has yet to get a hearing in Colorado’s statehouse, which kicked off its session earlier this month.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Democrat Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, said there remains a long runway before the legislation’s introduction, with more stakeholder input to hear and potential concerns to accommodate. Boesenecker remains confident in its support, adding, “I always count my votes.”

“I drop off my kids at school,” he said, “I could no longer continue to live … not knowing what might happen to them between that time I dropped them off and was able to pick them up.”

His draft of the bill prohibits the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines that also have one or more of a list of seven characteristics that include a pistol grip, flash suppressor, folding stock or threaded barrel. The ban would also extend to certain semiautomatic shotguns and handguns but allow some exemptions including for military personnel and police officers.

Colorado residents who already own semiautomatic weapons would be allowed to keep them. Rapid-fire trigger activators, devices that modify a firearm’s fire rate, however, are banned flat out by the bill.

Yeah, about that “if you have them you can keep them” clause. Again, all this is subject to change, but the leaked draft of the gun ban bill only allows current owners to legally maintain possession if they can prove they purchased the gun before the ban took effect. That will likely be impossible for many current owners to do, especially if they purchased their now-prohibited items years ago. The draft legislation argues that gun owners can ask the FFL where they purchased the gun to send them a copy of the 4473 that should be on file, but what if the store doesn’t respond to your request or has gone out of business? Is the ATF, which is supposed to obtain and keep all records from former FFLs on file, really going to dig through mountains of paperwork in order to find your 4473 from a decade ago? I doubt it.

So I’m not impressed with the grandfathering in the draft legislation, and I’m not convinced by Boesenecker’s arguments in favor of the ban either. As a parent myself, I completely get his concern about the safety of his kids when their in school, but banning modern sporting rifles isn’t going to make them any safer. The Columbine massacre took place in 1999, right in the middle of the ten-year federal ban on “assault weapons,” and the last high-profile school shooting in Colorado involved a teenager who used a pistol to target fellow students, not a modern sporting rifle.

If you want to protect kids in school you increase school security. Instead, Boesenecker and his anti-gun allies are aiming to decrease the rights of Colorado residents, and no one will be safer as a result.