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March 20, 2024

Assault Weapon Ban Passes House Committee

Legislation would ban weapons of war to save lives in Colorado

DENVER, CO - The House Judiciary Committee today passed gun violence prevention legislation sponsored by Representatives Tim Hernández and Elisabeth Epps to prohibit the manufacture, import, purchase, or sale of assault weapons and rapid-fire trigger activators. HB24-1292 passed by a vote of 7-3.

“The vast majority of Americans and over 80% of Democrats support an assault weapons ban and are fed up with weapons of war in our communities,” said Rep. Tim Hernández, D-Denver. “My entire childhood, I was afraid to die in school because adults wouldn’t be bold enough on guns, and those fears only grew when I became a teacher and I saw my students struggle with those same anxieties. We must take action to protect our communities, especially our students, from the death and destruction assault weapons inflict on so many innocent people.”

"HB24-1292 will stem the proliferation of firearms most commonly used in public mass shootings, and takes a powerful step to interrupt the uniquely American epidemic of gun violence," said Rep. Elisabeth Epps, D-Denver. "Colorado is home to too many now infamous sites - schools, theaters, nightclubs, clinics, grocery stores - places now forever associated with mass shootings. Prohibiting assault weapon sales is a necessary step to prevent more tragedies; lessening the spread of these weapons is overdue policy change, not just more thoughts and prayers."

Beginning July 1, 2024, HB24-1292 would prohibit the manufacture, import, purchase, or sale of assault weapons and rapid-fire trigger activators. A violation would be a petty offense.

Exceptions include:

  • U.S. military members, peace officers, or other government officers or agents,

  • The manufacture, sale, or transfer of an assault weapon from a licensed firearms manufacturer to the U.S. military or entity that employs peace officers,

  • Transfer of an assault weapon to a licensed firearms dealer or gunsmith for temporary maintenance, repair, modification, storage, or permanent disposal.

  • Any federal, state, or local historical society, museum, or institutional collection that is open to the public, as long as the assault weapon is securely housed and unloaded

  • A forensic laboratory or an agent or employee of the laboratory while on duty

  • Armored vehicle entities and their employees, or

  • A licensed gun dealer who has a remaining inventory of assault weapons as of August 1, 2024, and sells or transfers the remaining inventory only to a non-Colorado resident and the sale or transfer takes place out of the state.

A study found that over 60 percent of Americans support an assault weapons ban. From 2010-2019, assault weapons were used in 34 percent of mass public shootings. Since 2020, that number has increased to 60 percent.

Assault weapons have been used in numerous mass shootings including the Uvalde shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and the Pulse nightclub shooting. The gunman in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, had multiple guns in his hotel room, including semi-automatic firearms with bump stocks that converted the weapon into a fully automatic firearm. He was able to fire between 400-800 rounds per minute, killing 59 people and wounding hundreds. An AR-15 assault rifle was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, killing 20 students and six staff members. There, the shooter fired 154 bullets in less than four minutes. In the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, a semi-automatic rifle was used to kill five people and injure 19 others.

If signed into law, Colorado will join California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington in passing an assault weapons ban.

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