Colorado Democrats announced a new bill Tuesday that will block anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing any form of firearm, according to The Denver Post.
The proposed legislation would ban the purchase and possession of any firearm, including long guns and handguns, for adults who are younger than 21, saying they hope the legislation will help stop gun violence in the state, according to the Denver Post. The proposed legislation, announced by the bill’s sponsors Tuesday during an interview with the Denver Post, will likely be submitted as a Senate bill this week.
The bill will have exceptions in place to protect hunters, military members and sports shooters, while also including provisions for supervised possession, according to the Denver Post.
“We know that there’s a disproportionately high rate of violence perpetrated by young people using firearms,” Democratic Colorado state Sen. Jessie Danielson told the Denver Post.
Danielson, and other democratic sponsors of the bill, cited a 61% increase in suicides between 2011 and 2020 in the 18 to 20 year old demographic as a key reason for the bill, according to the Denver Post. The sponsors also referenced how the 18 to 20 year old demographic is 4% of the population but is responsible for 17% of homicide offenses.
The lawmakers referenced gun violence data from The Giffords Law Center, a gun control advocacy group, according to the Denver Post.
“I’m not saying that [the bill] is going to fix everything, but it sure as hell is an important, huge step in recognizing and acknowledging that we need to do something here in Colorado,” Democratic Rep. Monica Duran, a con-sponsor of the bill, told the Denver Post.
In August, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman ruled in the Firearms Policy Coalition v. McCraw case that preventing 18-to-21 year olds from carrying handguns in public is unconstitutional. The ruling, decided in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, was decided in light of a landmark SCOTUS case.
“Young adults have the same constitutionally protected right to bear arms as all other adults” Firearm Policy Coalition Senior Attorney for Constitutional Litigation Cody Wisniewski said after an appeal to the decision was struck down in the Texas Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in December.
The sponsors of the Colorado bill noted that either they or immediate family members owned firearms, and argued that they were not attacking gun rights — rather advocating for responsible gun ownership, according to the Denver Post. The bill will be the first in a “slate” of gun control bills, according to Democratic Colorado state Sen. Kyle Mullica.
“It’s common sense,” Mullica told the Denver Post. “When we’re out talking to people in our communities, it’s bills like this that they’re asking for.”
Colorado Democrats are debating a bill that will ban so-called “assault weapons,” but it has not been introduced as the gun violence caucus continues to discuss gun violence in the state, according to the Denver Post.
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