A Bill To Outlaw the Sale and Purchase of “Assault” Weapons Passes the Colorado House

(NewsSpace.com) – In 1999, Colorado was rocked by the Columbine High School massacre. The tragedy left 13 people dead, and another 24 injured, not including the shooters. Now, just days before the 25th anniversary of the massacre, Colorado House Democrats have passed a bill that would ban the purchase and transfer of so-called “assault weapons” in the state.

On Sunday, April 14, the state’s lower chamber voted on House Bill 1292, passing it mostly along party lines, 35-27. Nine Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the measure. The bill outright bans the purchase and transfer of assault weapons, which are defined as high-powered, semi-automatic pistols and rifles with either fixed, large-capacity magazines or detachable magazines. The bill stops short of banning possession. However, anyone who sells one could face a $750 fine.

Democratic Representatives Elisabeth Epps and Tim Hernandez backed the measure. It will now head to the state Senate, where it faces an uphill battle. Some Democratic senators oppose the bill. Even Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) is skeptical.

Many fear that the policy wouldn’t be effective, and could lead to backlash at the polls. The Senate, though it has a Democratic majority, takes a more moderate approach than the progressive House. For a while, it lacked a sponsor, though Denver Senator Julie Gonzalez (D), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and third-ranking Democrat in the upper chamber, stepped up to take it on.

The House is also trying to pass companion legislation, House Bill 1353, that would require gun dealers to have a state license along with a federal license to sell firearms. If the dealers were to be caught selling the banned weapons, they would be subject to losing their state licenses, as well. Then, there’s a third bill, SB 003, in the works that would set aside money to improve investigations into gun crimes, including illegal sales.

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