Colorado House Passes Bill Banning Semiautomatic Firearms

The Colorado state House on April 14 approved a bill that would ban the sale or transfer of so-called “assault weapons,” moving the measure to the state Senate for a vote, the Associated Press reported.

Colorado House Bill 1292, which passed the Democrat-controlled state House in a 35-27 vote, prevents the sale or transfer of an “assault weapon” effective July 1, 2024.

The bill defines “assault weapons” as any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine, muzzle brake, pistol grip, threaded barrel, or folding or detachable stock; a semi-automatic pistol with a detachable magazine, threaded barrel, muzzle brake or arm brace; a .50-caliber rifle; and any semi-automatic shotgun with a pistol grip, large-capacity magazine, or folding stock.

If HB-1292 clears the Senate and is signed into law by Democrat Governor Jared Polis, Colorado would join ten other states, including New York, Illinois, and California, in banning “assault weapons.”

However, the likelihood of the state Senate approving the measure is uncertain since the upper chamber has fewer far-left members than the House. The governor has also indicated that he is wary of such a ban.

A similar bill was killed last year by Democrat lawmakers in committee after some Democrats cited concerns over the breadth of the bill in light of promises they made to voters about protecting the rights of legal gun owners.

In urging lawmakers to support the bill, Democrat state Rep. Javier Mabrey cited the 1999 Columbine school shooting to describe Colorado as the state “where the modern era” of mass shootings began.

Republican lawmakers described the bill as a clear violation of the Second Amendment. They argued that mental illness and criminals who have no value for human life are the issues the state should address. Republicans also noted that those who wish to cause harm could easily use other weapons like knives to do so.

Democrat lawmakers countered that in the short term, “assault weapons” cause more harm.

Mabrey noted that the Aurora shooter was able to shoot up a theater full of people in less than 90 seconds, something that could not have been done if he had a knife.