Colorado House Approves Three More Gun Control Bills

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Colorado House Democrats continued their attacks on the right to keep and bear arms by advancing three more gun control bills over the weekend, including a Second Amendment poll tax of sorts requiring legal gun owners to purchase liability insurance or risk a $500 fine if they're caught possessing a gun without the mandated insurance policy. 


While the bill does contain an exception for individuals who've been denied firearm liability insurance by two or more insurers as well as indigent residents who can't afford the insurance policy, those gun owners are expected to petition a court for an order declaring that they're excused from the insurance requirement. 

Critics of the bill raised concerns that it could effectively establish a gun owner registry, which they argued is an invasion of privacy. Additionally, they questioned the necessity of the bill since firearm liability insurance is often included in homeowners insurance policies through umbrella policies.

"I am deeply concerned that this will be used as an advantage to do other insidious things," said Rep. Ron Weinberg, R-Loveland. "As legislators in this building, there's one thing we have to do: stop going down rabbit holes. Once we put one thing in order, there's many to follow. One of the greatest reasons this country exists as it does today is because of law and order and the Second Amendment, and if we start chipping away at any of those with small things such as this, we will find ourselves in a difficult spot." 

The bill's supporters argued that it's no different from requiring liability insurance for other items that have the potential to cause harm, such as swimming pools and trampolines. They contended that insurance coverage would assist in offsetting the substantial medical expenses incurred by victims of accidental or unintentional firearm discharges.

The bill narrowly passed with a 33-29 vote, hinging on last-minute switches by Democratic Reps. Alex Valdez of Denver and Tisha Mauro of Pueblo from "no" to "yes.


The last time I checked, we don't have a well-funded lobby trying to eradicate the possession of swimming pools or trampolines, so there is one very big difference between mandating insurance for those items and tying in the exercise of a constitutionally protected right to the purchase of an insurance policy. 

The House also adopted a bill establishing a state-level firearms dealer license, which will saddle FFLs with even more red tape and costly security mandates, as well as a measure that would impose a new 11 percent excise tax on all firearms and ammunition sales; effectively doubling the current tax by mirroring the federal excise tax that's already in place. 

Opponents of the bill say it places financial barriers on gun ownership, which Rep. Brandi Bradley, R-Littleton, called "the great equalizer" for women. 

"I'm trying to understand why we would take away the greatest equalizer for women," she said. "Why wouldn't we give them every opportunity to have a gun and access them without financial restrictions? This bill will disproportionately affect people who cannot afford this extra tax and will not be able to defend themselves, and unfortunately crime and assault will continue to rise."

Rep. Lisa Frizell, R-Castle Rock, said she supports funding for victims' assistance programs but she does not believe an excise tax is the way to source that funding. 

"This bill combined with other measures that have passed through this chamber in this session, I believe very strongly, is simply going to reduce the number of guns sold legally in the state of Colorado," she added. 


That's a feature, not a bug, as far as the anti-gunners are concerned. 

All of these bills still have to be approved by the state Senate and Gov. Jared Polis before they take effect, and the excise tax would also have be adopted by voters in November before it could be enforced. The insurance mandate squeaked out of the House by narrow margins and could very well end up defeated or tied up in a committee once it reaches the Senate, but for now all three bills pose a live threat to the Second Amendment rights of Coloradans. 

Democrats in the state have been steadily encroaching on the right to keep and bear arms for more than ten years now; adopting bans on "large capacity" magazines and establishing "red flag" laws as well as repealing the state's firearm preemption law and allowing localities to adopt their own, even more restrictive gun laws. While lawmakers have been going after legal gun owners, law breakers in Colorado have had a field day. Violent crime is up substantially over the past decade, but most Democratic lawmakers are far more interested in restricting the Second Amendment than going after armed robbers, carjackers, home invaders, and gang members. 

None of the bills advanced by the House on Saturday target violent criminals in any way. Once again, it's legal gun owners who are being scapegoated by anti-gun legislators, along with their Second Amendment rights, and Coloradans are going to be both less safe and less free if these measures are enacted into law.  


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