As Colo. lawmakers, activists push for stronger gun laws in 2023, opponents ready for legal, political fight

Leaders debate how to handle gun control
Posted at 8:38 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 08:21:53-05

DENVER — After landslide victories in 2022, Colorado Democrats are pushing for stronger gun control measures at the local level and statewide.

Broomfield City Council has joined a list of other cities in proposing a suite of local ordinances taking on guns, which would include, among other things:

  • Ban rapid-fire trigger activators
  • Increase the minimum age to buy a gun to 21 years old
  • Require a 10 day waiting period to buy a gun, and require proof of training upon purchase
  • Ban open carry of guns in public places

These follow promises from state lawmakers at the beginning of the 2023 legislative session to pursue a suite of new laws. No measure has been formally introduced yet, but the proposals include strengthening Colorado’s “red flag” law, a required waiting period to buy a gun, and an “assault weapons” ban. These have been called for by both elected voices and citizen voices.

“Having worked on this issue since 1995, I will say overwhelmingly, yes, there is a lot of momentum,” said Eileen McCarron, president of Colorado Ceasefire, a group that advocates for stricter gun laws. “The momentum is largely caused because of the awful tragedies that are occurring, both in mass shootings, such as the Boulder King Soopers or the Club Q in Colorado Springs, but also every day community violence.”

Gun control advocates feel they have the wind at their backs politically in Colorado, with Democrats winning historic power in the 2022 elections. However, lawsuits and court cases threaten to immediately halt many of the proposed measures, and others in Colorado are vowing to fight every proposal on the table.

“We believe that the government should not decide who gets to have guns and who doesn’t get to have guns,” said Edgar Antillon, founder of the group, Guns for Everyone. “This is just going to continue the trend of passing laws, taking away freedoms and solving absolutely nothing.”

Guns for Everyone is a network of gun rights activists and gun shops, and offers free concealed carry trainings and gun safety courses throughout Colorado. In order to ensure vocal opposition to these proposals at the Colorado state house, the group has a unique offer to any supporter who attends a hearing or committee session regarding new gun measures.

“When you show up—we will have a way to kind of verify that you were there—we will enter you into this giveaway. We will give away AR-15s, the very tool that they’re trying to take away from us,” Antillon said. “We want to support and promote freedom.”

Late Tuesday, the Broomfield City Council opted to delay voting on the following ordinances:

  • Increase the age to purchase a rifle or shotgun to 21
  • Regulate the possession of "ghost guns" or non-serialized firearms
  • A 10-day waiting period prior to the sale of firearms

They passed the following unanimously:

  • Prohibit open carry of firearms in public places
  • Require posting of signs and proof of education or training before buying a gun. A training class must include topics such as mental health resources, state and local laws, and safe handling techniques
  • Firearm dealers must post signs and provide an educational notification when a sale occur

And lastly, these were passed:

  • Ban the sale and possession of rapid-fire trigger activators
  • Prohibit conceal carry of firearms in buildings owned or leased by the City and County of Broomfield