DENVER, CO - The House State, Civic, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee passed a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase and possess a firearm in Colorado to 21 years old. It passed by a vote of 7-4.
“As a survivor of domestic abuse and gun intimidation as a young adult, I know how critical it is to ensure that nobody else is caught in the same life-threatening situation,” said Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “My abuser and I were 19 years old when the violence began. I lived in crippling fear that he would one day use his gun on me and my son. Raising the age to 21 to purchase a firearm will reduce gun violence in our communities, prevent suicides among young people and help prevent situations like what happened to me from happening to more Coloradans.”
“I remember teaching in my classroom the day of the Columbine massacre; my students were terrified that they could be next,” said Rep. Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial. “Youth access to firearms has led to high rates of suicide and gun homicides. By increasing the minimum age for firearm purchase, we can protect Colorado kids and youth from senseless gun violence and improve public safety by reducing firearm-related homicides.”
Currently, individuals must be 21 years old to purchase a handgun, but only 18 years old to purchase long guns. SB23-169 would raise the age limit to purchase any firearm to 21. The bill includes exceptions for 18-21 year olds to purchase a firearm who are on-duty peace officers or active military members. It also allows individuals under 21 to possess a firearm if they are attending a hunter’s safety education course or a firearms safety course, hunting with a valid hunting license and accompanied by a mentor, or for those who are active military members or on-duty peace officers.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, firearms are the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S. ages 18 to 20, and the firearm suicide rate among this group has increased a staggering 61 percent in the last decade.