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Perspectives on Colorado's proposed bill to ban 'assault weapons'

Voices for and against a proposed bill that would ban so-called assault weapons filled the halls of Colorado’s state capitol on Tuesday. Denver7 360 breaks down multiple perspectives in the debate.
Posted: 5:22 PM, Mar 20, 2024
Updated: 2024-03-22 16:04:41-04
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DENVER — Voices for and against a proposed bill that would ban so-called assault weapons filled the halls of Colorado’s state capitol on Tuesday, in the latest in a series of gun control attempts heard in the legislature.

Over 500 people signed up to testify on the bill, a crowd that was so large, an overflow room was set up where onlookers could view the fiery hearing on video screens outside of the committee room.

House Bill 24-1292 is proposed legislation that seeks to ban the manufacture, import, purchase, or sale of a range of semi-automatic firearms.

Bill sponsors, State Rep. Elisabeth Epps, and State Rep. Tim Hernandez, both Denver Democrats say those types of guns are ones frequently used in deadly mass shootings.

HB 24-1292 would also ban possession of rapid-fire trigger activators. These devices make guns fire fast.

Along with testimony in front of lawmakers, the majority of people at the capitol were gun owners who opposed the bill while hundreds also rallied outside on the steps before the hearing, reported Denver7’s Brandon Richard.

Craig Williams, an Army veteran and a gun store owner from Peyton who voiced his opinion against the bill.

“For people like myself and a number of people that I know, this is, it’s therapy for us to go out shooting,” said Williams. “Not everybody gets into riding motorcycles or doing something else and this is what we do as our hobby.”

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Colorado lawmakers hold hearing on bill to ban 'assault weapons'

Brandon Richard
5:18 PM, Mar 19, 2024

Williams is concerned that the proposed bill against ‘assault weapons’ would take away guns from people who follow the laws and “does not do anything for gun violence.”

“It’s asking for assault rifles, however, based on some of the other wording in this bill, it takes away our, you know, most pistols, semi, semi-automatic pistols that most people use for self-defense,” added Williams.

Inside the hearing room, supporters of the bill, including teachers urged lawmakers to support the bill for the safety of the classroom.

“Assault weapons are designed for one thing and that is to kill as many humans as possible in the shortest amount of time,” said Kallie Leyba with American Federation of Teachers Colorado. “Assault weapons are weapons of war. We don’t need them any more than we need shoulder-fired missiles or hand grenades.”

Beth Ertz, a Colorado mother and teacher who supports the bill, said she didn’t know any hunters that use an assault rifle.“We’re talking about our classrooms, our movie theaters, our grocery stores,” said Ertz. “There’s no common sense argument that justifies the use of these weapons in our communities.”



Colorado legislators to consider banning guns from 'sensitive spaces'

Brandon Richard
8:07 PM, Feb 09, 2024

Taylor Rhodes representing Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said his group came with thousands of signed petitions expressing opposition to House Bill 24-1292. “Today here with me in the hallway behind us are roughly 175,000 petitions expressing our collective opposition to this measure,” said Rhodes.

He urged lawmakers to consider 30,000 signed petitions from armed constituents in their districts. “Even in the Denver district, surprisingly,” said Rhodes.

The proposed legislation defines an “assault weapon” as a semi-automatic rifle or weapon that can be modified to “accept a detachable magazine” and includes a pistol grip or thumbhole stock among a list of other characteristics.

House Bill 24-129 would not apply to police agencies or members of the military.

Gun store owners fear the legislation would have a greater impact on their business.“This bill will close gun shops from Holyoke to Durango,” said Ian Escalante with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. “It will decimate the gun industry here in Colorado.”

You can read the full bill text at this link.

Peggy Sue Andre is a Denver gun owner who “understands the emotion” behind the proposed law, but fears it punishes the wrong people.

“Punks are your problem, not lawful gun owners,” said Andre. “I’m a transgender civil rights activist over the years in some degree. A lot of us get threats. I’ve had vandalism to my home,”

Andre added: “You’re not going to disarm this state or America for one because you’ve got so many hundred of millions of arms out there.” For Beth Ertz, mom and teacher, the debate boils down to the classroom.

“If we’re not listening to and protecting our children, something is wrong.”

The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee along a party-line vote and heads to the full House.

Denver7's Brandon Richard contributed to this story.

Perspectives on Colorado's proposed bill to ban 'assault weapons'

What you're saying

'It all makes perfect sense...'

Once you understand that the goal is not increased public safety but rather expanding government control, it all makes perfect sense.
Dale P.

'"Gun Control" only affects law abiding citizens'

I wish I could go through life oblivious to how things work. You do realize that the majority of gun crimes are with illegally obtained/possessed firearms? Not to mention every school shooting is a gun free zone and look how many shooters were deterred by that law. Criminals don't care about your laws and "gun control" only affects law abiding citizens.
Josh P.

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