Mar 10, 2021 - Politics

Colorado gun debate sparks sharp words from GOP lawmakers

Employee Gabe Boylan, of Boulder, hands a rifle to a customer at Jax Mercantile in Lafayette in 2013. Photo: Jeremy Papasso/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

As Democratic state lawmakers in Colorado press ahead on gun restrictions, Republicans are raising prospects of a "rebellion."

What’s happening: Two Democratic-backed bills advanced yesterday to mandate the safe storage of firearms at home and require gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons within five days.

  • "This bill is about one thing and one thing only, and that is about protecting our children," said Rep. Kyle Mullica (D-Northglenn), the sponsor of the storage bill, according to the Denver Post.

The other side: Republicans argue the rules represent government overreach, violate constitutional rights and widen the divide between rural and urban Colorado. They spent hours arguing against them in the Democratic-controlled chambers.

  • "Our country was founded on rebellion, and there are political winds where I come from," Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron) said, according to Colorado Politics. "If this continues to go like this, there may be a breaking point."

Where things stand: Democrats have become increasingly confident to take on gun control regulation and less worried about pleasing their GOP colleagues in the process.

  • Flashback: Democrats won a confidence boost after successfully passing the "red-flag" bill in 2019 and retaining their majority in 2020.

Yes, but: Sponsors of the gun legislation still need to ensure they have support from their fellow Democrats to get it past the finish line.

  • The House passed the gun storage bill Tuesday, and only one Democrat defected.

What to watch: A third gun control measure — arguably the most controversial — is expected soon. It would call for a mandatory five-day waiting period for Colorado gun buyers.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that only one Colorado House Democrat voted against the gun storage bill (not two).

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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