DENVER — Colorado’s governor signed four gun control bills on Friday, following the lead of other states struggling to deal with a nationwide surge in violent crime and mass shootings, despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling extending Second Amendment rights.
Before Gov. days from purchase to receipt of a firearm. Courts have considered lawsuits about such restrictions in other states.
The new laws, pushed through by Democrats despite late-night criticism from Republicans, are aimed at quelling rising youth suicides and violence, preventing mass shootings. mass gun and opens the way for victims of gun violence to sue the long-protected firearms industry. They were issued just five months after a mass shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs.
“Coloradoans deserve to be safe in our community, in our schools, in our grocery stores, in our nightclubs,” Polis said as he signed the measures at his office. Next to the governor are activists in red reading “Mothers Demand Action,” students from a Denver high school recently affected by a shooting, and a woman’s parents was killed in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.
Supportive legislators as well as citizens shed tears and applauded as Polis signed each bill. Colorado has a history of infamous mass shootings, dating back to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
Republicans criticized the bills as a serious violation of Second Amendment rights that would impede Colorado residents’ ability to defend themselves amid rising crime rates statewide. Gun rights advocates pledged to reverse the measures.
“What a sad day for Colorado; we’re becoming one of the most anti-Second Amendment states in the nation,” said Representative Mike Lynch, the Republican minority leader.
The third measure passed by the legislature would strengthen the state’s red flag laws and the fourth would revoke some legal protections for the firearms industry, exposing them to lawsuits. lawsuits from victims of gun violence.
Lynch predicts that the scale of gun restrictions – along with other bills Democrats have pushed for this year – will provoke a backlash in the next election, especially in counties. oscillations helped cement the Democratic majority in the legislature.
The new red flag law, also known as extreme risk protection orders, empowers those who work closely with youth and adults — doctors, mental health professionals, and teachers — to see to ask a judge to temporarily take someone’s gun. Previously, the right to sue was limited mainly to law enforcement and family members. The goal is to act preemptively before someone tries to commit suicide or attack another person.
At the signing ceremony, Senate Speaker Steve Fenberg, a Democrat and one of the bill’s supporters, said Republicans and other gun control opponents often react to mass shootings. mass by saying it’s too early to talk about gun restrictions.
“It’s not too soon. It’s too late for so many lost souls,” Fenberg said. “We need to do more to stop what happened.”
Republicans argued that the law would discourage people — especially military veterans — from talking candidly with doctors and mental health professionals for fear of weapons impoundment.
Lynch argued that while the Colorado Springs shootings are often cited as a reason to bypass these types of gun restrictions, “the evidence suggests they would do absolutely nothing to prevent it.”
“It breaks my heart that we are taking part in these tragic events…and we are using them to advance an agenda that does not solve the problem,” he said.
The law requiring a three-day delay between buying and receiving a gun — an effort to curb impulsive violence and suicidal thoughts — puts Colorado on par with nine other states, including California, Florida and Hawaii.
Colorado has the sixth-highest suicide rate in the country, with nearly 1,400 in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A RAND Corporation analysis of four studies found that waiting times were associated with lower rates of death from gun suicide.
Opponents raise concerns that those who need to defend themselves — such as victims of domestic violence — may not have the guns in time to do so.
To raise the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, Colorado joins California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New York and Rhode Island. Advocates point to commonly cited data from the CDC showing that gun violence has overtaken vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in recent years.
At the ceremony, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser compared the new laws to the campaign for vehicle safety that spawned groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a precursor to Action Under requests of mothers.
But Taylor Rhodes, chief executive officer of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the group that filed the lawsuit, has a different view.
“These are simply bigoted politicians doing what bigot politicians have done: age discrimination,” Rhodes said, referring to the minimum age to buy a gun.
In their speeches about rolling back legal protections for gun manufacturers, lawmakers often point to Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, whose daughter, Jessica Ghawi, was killed during the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. Parents tried unsuccessfully to sue the companies that sold ammunition and tear gas. In the end, the couple owed more than $200,000 in defense attorney fees and had to file for bankruptcy.
California, Delaware, New Jersey and New York have passed similar legislation in the past three years. Opponents of the bill argue that it will only bog the firearms industry down with bogus lawsuits.