A bill to ban firearms described as “assault weapons” failed to get out of the Colorado House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, after a 13-hour long hearing.
House Bill 23-1230, sponsored by Rep. Elisabeth Epps (D-Denver) would have prohibited the manufacturing, importing, purchasing, or selling of an assault weapon, among other restrictions.
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The bill was postponed indefinitely on an 8-5 vote. Reps. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada, Bob Marshall, D-Highlands Ranch, Said Sharbini, D-Thornton, Marc Snyder, D-Manitou Springs, joined the committee’s four Republicans in voting to postpone.
“Although I know objectively – because I’m an organizer and my mama didn’t raise no quitter – the work we have to do takes years,” Epps said before the vote.
Colorado House Republicans thanked the hundreds of people who testified against the bill throughout the day.
“Let’s get back to actual solutions that address soft-on-crime policies, securing our schools and addressing the mental health crisis facing our state,” the House GOP posted on social media.
“Unfortunately, the session is almost over and Colorado House Democrats still haven’t gotten serious about our crime problem.”
Committee Vice Chair Jennifer Bacon (D-Denver) said some of the rhetoric during testimony didn’t pertain to the bill at all.
“The question that I wanted to ask was, if someone was at church or in a movie theater and we were notified that someone entered with a gun, which gun is it that we hope no one has?” Bacon asked.
“Because that’s what we’re trying to solve for. This bill is not about a firearms ban. This bill is not denial of protecting oneself. And even through all the conversations about those with mental health issues or needs, the question is, if people want to do us harm, how do we mitigate the impact?”
Rep. Ryan Armagost (R-Berthoud) said firearms aren’t the problem.
“We just have to focus on mental health,” said Armagost, who told the committee that he has sought assistance for his own mental health.
“I’ve heard testimony tonight about how it’s not going to be a one-visit thing. No, there’s many ways to address mental health. Every person is different.”
This bill was introduced after the state’s latest mass shooting, by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
It proposed strengthening red flag laws, raising the firearm purchasing age to 21, opening the gun industry up to legal liability, and installing a three-day waiting period after buying a gun.
Fox News shared:
Colorado has suffered some of the nation’s most notorious massacres, including 13 killed in 1999 at Columbine High School, 12 killed in 2012 at an Aurora movie theater, 10 killed in 2021 at a Boulder supermarket, and five killed last November at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub.
Just last month, after a student shot two administrators in a Denver high school, waves of chanting students and teachers filled Colorado’s Capitol demanding the laws be passed.
While deeply Democratic states like California, New York, and Massachusetts have restricted semi-automatic rifles, the proposal in Colorado has revealed divides even among Democrats and incited ongoing contention between the urban and rural parts of the state.