A look at gun control bills introduced so far during 2024 legislative session

Colorado lawmakers introduced an assault weapons ban one day before the mass shooting at Kansas City Chiefs victory rally.
Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban guns from "sensitive spaces."
Posted at 7:54 PM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 07:53:07-05

DENVER — Colorado gun laws are under the microscope following the mass shooting at the Kansas City Chief's victory rally, which left one dead and more than 20 injured.

Just one day before the latest mass shooting, Colorado lawmakers introduced a bill to ban the purchase, sale and transfer of assault firearms.

House Bill 24-1292 is sponsored by Representatives Elisabeth Epps and Tim Hernandez. It would have a wide-ranging impact on semi-automatic weapons, which were used in the Aurora, Columbine and Club Q mass shootings.

The state is also debating three other gun reform bills:

  • Senate Bill 24-131 would ban guns — whether they’re carried openly or concealed — from “sensitive spaces” such as public parks, community centers, churches and adjacent parking areas.
  • Senate Bill 24-003 would authorize the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate illegal activity involving guns, including illegal sales and possession.
  • House Bill 1174 would change Colorado’s requirements to obtain a concealed carry permit to include attending a class with at least eight hours of instruction that includes a live-fire shooting exercise where at least 50 rounds of ammunition are fired.

Colorado has passed a series of gun legislation over the past decade following the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. State Senator Tom Sullivan, who lost his son, Alex, in the movie theater shooting, has spearheaded many of the efforts.
“I am actually the legislator down here whose son was murdered with an assault weapon," said Sullivan. "I wake up thinking about this. I go to sleep thinking about this. This is what I work on.”

Although he's opposed to a broad ban on assault weapons, Sullivan is a major proponent of stricter gun laws.

Since the Aurora shooting, Colorado has implemented more than a dozen statewide changes to gun laws, making it one of the most progressive states on gun control. Sullivan applauded the state's efforts, citing extended waiting periods and universal background checks, but said more can be done.

"This is going to be the 25-year anniversary of the Columbine shooting. We've come a long ways from that, but we've still got a lot more to go," said Sullivan.

The assault weapons bill will function as a test for the Colorado legislature. Dr. Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, said the state may struggle to implement such a left-leaning policy despite its progressive status.

“I don't think there's any magic solution right now," said Metzl.

A proponent of stronger gun laws, Metzl said Colorado's efforts on gun reform are a model for the nation. He said Colorado's diverse political makeup has resulted in gun laws that reflect both sides of the political spectrum.

"The strength of Colorado is that there are people of all different ideological backgrounds. There are strong pro-gun people and strong pro-reform people," said Metzl.

However, Metzl said the issue of gun control is still very divisive along party lines. Despite the most recent mass shooting, he argues aggressive reforms will be unlikely since both sides could entrench along party lines.

"There's a kind of fantasy on both sides that people are going to see a tragedy happen and they're going to say, 'I'm going to switch sides,'" said Metzl.

Despite polarizing government policies, Colorado's Democratic majority continues to propose stricter gun regulations. The assault weapons measure is similar to legislation that failed last year. Democrats currently hold the majority in both chambers of the Colorado legislature, but three Democrats aligned with Republicans to tank the proposal in 2023.

House Bill 24-1292 is currently assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

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