DENVER – Democrats passed three gun-control bills through the Colorado Senate today over bipartisan opposition.
Senate Bill 23-168 allows for firearms industry members to be held liable in civil court for misuse of their products or services. Senate Bill 23-169 will forbid adults under the age of 21 from purchasing a firearm of any kind with limited exceptions. Senate Bill 23-170 expands the list of those who can request an ERPO, commonly known as a ‘red flag order.’ All three bills were opposed by both Republican and Democrat members of the Senate.
During a 12 hour floor debate last Friday, Colorado Senate Republicans offered multiple amendments to the bills aimed at protecting Colorado’s most vulnerable. Among them included amendments that would have allowed victims of domestic abuse and stalking who are under the age of 21 to purchase a gun for self defense; against bipartisan support, the Democrat majority killed the amendments.
“I’m extremely disappointed to see our Democratic colleagues reject our proposals that would have safeguarded the legal rights of self defense to victims and survivors of domestic violence, assault, and stalking,” Senator Smallwood remarked. “The General Assembly must act to protect many of our state’s most vulnerable, and these amendments would have done exactly that.”
Republicans were, however, successful in amending Senate Bill 23-169 to grandfather current individuals who are at least 18 years old at the time of the bill’s enactment. The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County).
“While I am thankful we were able to get this one amendment on Senate Bill 23-169, I am still disappointed to see my Democrat colleagues’ lack of willingness to find common ground,” Senator Kirkmeyer said. “The majority party opted to pass these bills against the testimony we heard in committee and the concerns expressed on the floor. We had a real opportunity here for bipartisan cooperation. Unfortunately one party control leads to this type of political tone deafness.”
Violent crime in the state of Colorado has been rising drastically for the past several years, increasing by 24.6% compared to pre-pandemic levels. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation had also reported a 61.4% increase in murder, a 15.7% increase in robbery, and a 44.8% increase in assault in the state of Colorado since 2019.
“As crime continues to rise in this state, we must ensure Coloradans can be personally secure– we have offered amendment after amendment to ensure Colorado families have the right to secure themselves. These bills will only create hurdles for Coloradans to exercise their legal rights to self protection. Opposition to the bills is bipartisan– our focus must be to reduce crime.”