Jan 3, 2023 - News

Colorado Democrats press for tougher gun laws after Club Q shooting

Illustration of a gun with a trigger in the shape of a question mark

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

One of the top priorities for the Democratic majority at the state Capitol this year is one of Colorado's most controversial issues: Tightening gun regulations.

Driving the news: The renewed focus comes in the wake of the Nov. 19 shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, where a 22-year-old armed with a semi-automatic rifle is accused of killing five people and injuring more than a dozen others.

Why it matters: Colorado's history of mass shootings has led lawmakers to push gun laws before, but it's a political gauntlet that led to protests and recall elections.

State of play: The General Assembly starts its 120-day legislative session Monday with larger Democratic majorities in both chambers. The party's members are eager to use their power to make it harder to purchase guns.

Legislation under consideration includes:

  • A ban on the purchase of assault-style weapons.
  • Tougher regulations on untraceable "ghost guns."
  • A waiting period to purchase firearms.
  • Increasing the minimum age from 18 to 21 to buy rifles or shotguns.

Of note: In response to the Club Q shooting, lawmakers also are looking at updates to the state's "red flag law" that would expand who can petition a judge for the seizure of a person's weapons.

  • The alleged shooter at the gay nightclub made threats about stockpiling weapons and mass killings a year before the attack, but no action was taken to address the threats.

What they're saying: Colorado needs "to get to the root of what is driving these individuals to kill others, while simultaneously reducing the mayhem by ensuring that these weapons of war are confined to where they truly belong β€” the battlefield," Adam Shore, executive director of Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action, told the Colorado Sun.

The big picture: Other blue states are making stricter regulations on guns a priority, too. New Mexico lawmakers want to require safe storage rules and raise the age for buying assault weapons.

Yes, but: In Colorado, a potential obstacle for an assault-weapons ban is Gov. Jared Polis, who has opposed such a policy in the past. And in November, he refused to endorse President Biden's call for a ban.


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