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April 13, 2024

Bill to Ban Assault Weapons Transfer and Purchase Sees Initial Approval in House

Legislation would ban weapons of war to save lives in Colorado 

DENVER, CO - The House today gave preliminary approval to 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.

“Columbine High School, Aurora movie theater, Club Q, and the Boulder King Soopers shooting – Our state has endured too many tragedies that we can easily name that have been carried out with assault weapons,” said Rep. Tim Hernández, D-Denver. “As the youngest member of the Colorado General Assembly and a teacher, I feared every day that my school could end up in the news from a deadly attack. This legislation is one step we can take in the legislature to protect our communities, especially our students and educators, and save Colorado lives.”

“The proliferation of weapons of war has wreaked havoc on our communities. This uniquely American epidemic requires bold solutions and state-level action," said Rep. Elisabeth Epps, D-Denver. "Policy choices created an environment where the real and present threat of a public mass shooting pervades every element of our lives. And it is making better policy choices—like banning the sale of assault weapons—that will help save Coloradans from preventable gun violence.”

Beginning July 1, 2024, HB24-1292 would prohibit the manufacture, import, purchase, or sale of assault weapons and rapid-fire trigger activators. A violator who does not have a permit to sell shall be assessed a civil penalty in the amount of $750 if attempting to make a private sale. A licensed gun dealer who violates this law shall be reported to the Department of Revenue where appropriate action may be taken as required by law.

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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