Colorado House Votes For Assault Weapon Ban

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

The state of Colorado has long turned its back on being pro-gun a long time ago. However, has they've embraced anti-gun measures, other pro-gun positions remained intact. One was left wondering whether they'd get around to changing it or whether they'd just let it all go.


One is the status of so-called assault weapons.

While the state has had several high-profile mass murders using modern sporting rifles, they hadn't gotten around to banning them like most other anti-gun states. 

Unfortunately for many law-abiding folks there, that may well change soon.

The Colorado House of Representatives gave preliminary approval Friday evening to a bill that would ban the sale, purchase and manufacture of many semi-automatic rifles beginning this summer. It was the first time the chamber has considered such a proposal.

The ban on so-called assault weapons, with specific models enumerated in the bill and also more broadly defined by certain characteristics, passed on a voice vote on its second reading.

It still needs a final recorded vote, which is set to happen on Sunday, to make it through the House and head over to the Senate. It can lose the support a handful of Democrats and still pass the chamber, as Democrats hold a wide 46-19 majority.

“Nine out of 10 mass shooting incidents with the most casualties involve the use of at least one of the assault weapons that we are debating in this body today. I am not waiting anymore. Assault weapons must be banned in the state of Colorado,” bill sponsor Rep. Tim Hernández, a Denver Democrat, said during an impassioned speech on the floor at the start of debate.

“As a young person who understands what this issue means … I cannot morally do nothing,” he said.\


Rep. Hernandez should recollect, however, that so-called assault weapons aren't the only way in which mass murders are committed.

Virginia Tech, for example, was a case where two handguns were used to commit the worst school shooting in American history. Bad people don't need an "assault weapon" to do horrible things.

What's more, I don't know that Colorado lawmakers are thinking about the constitutional ramifications of this. 

After all, Heller held that guns "in common use" couldn't be banned. The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America, making them most definitely in common use.

Bruen found that historical precedence from particular eras needs to be established to justify any gun control law. There have been attempts to try and justify such restrictions in that way, but so far they haven't exactly swayed the courts.

Finally, let's go all the way back to Miller for a moment. That ruling argued that a sawed-off shotgun wasn't useful for militia service, so laws against those were justified. Now, let's look at the arguments against so-called assault weapons. They're "weapons of war." It sounds like even under Miller, so-called assault weapons would survive.

Especially considering this particular assault weapon ban bill doesn't just focus on things like the AR-15. 


The bill defines an assault weapon as any magazine-fed, semis-automatic firearm with one of a number of features, including a pistol grip. The definition is so poorly thought out that it includes every semi-auto handgun on the planet. One lawmaker points out his turkey shotgun won't be legal under this bill, for crying out loud.

That's not exactly going to help it survive legal challenge.

Of course, this isn't exactly a done deal, either.

The bill still has to go to the Senate, where its fate is far less certain. Then there's the fact that Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, has expressed some concerns about the bill. Folks aren't sure he'll sign such a bill, especially considering how far this bill really goes.

This is one hurdle down, but there is still more to go. Here's hoping someone has some sense in Colorado.

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