Assault Weapon Ban Filed in Colorado

Posted by Jack Collins on Feb 15, 2024

Colorado lawmakers have filed an Assault Weapons Ban in the state’s legislature. It’s the second attempt by state Democrats to enact the law in as many years, but it faces a tough uphill battle in the decidedly blue state. Here’s how it breaks down.

The Law

Denver-area representative Elisabeth Epps co-sponsored the bill with fellow Democrat Tim Hernandez. The new law defines an “assault weapon” as:

  • Any .50-caliber rifle.
  • Rifles: Essentially any semi-auto rifle. Also any non semi-auto rifle with a pistol grip, barrel shroud, threaded barrel, muzzle break, or a folding, telescopic, or detachable stock.
  • Pistols: A semi-auto pistol that can accept a detachable magazine AND also has a threaded barrel, second pistol grip, shroud attached to the barrel, muzzle break, or stabilizing brace.
  • Shotguns: Any semi-auto shotgun with a pistol grip, fixed large-capacity magazine (anything beyond 15 rounds), or a folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock.

The law goes on to ban certain types of firearms by name. They include AR-15s, AK-47s, TEC-9s, and MAC-10s, among others.

Possession of these weapons isn’t an offense, but buying or selling them is. Punishment for one violation is a $250,000 fine, while a second violation is a $500,000 fine.

The law is already facing backlash, even in Democrat-controlled Colorado. The Colorado House and Senate both have Democratic majorities, and the state’s governor is a Democrat, too. However, many lawmakers have already stated they don’t support the current bill. Governor Jared Polis also has not signaled that he would sign the bill into law.

This SIG P320 would be illegal in Colorado thanks to its threaded barrel.

Why it Matters

This is the second year in a row that Denver democrats have introduced an AWB bill. Epps, the same Congresswoman that introduced this year’s draft of the bill, also introduced it in 2023.

The bill was so unpopular last year that Epps had to rewrite it to remove language banning semi-auto weapons. The final version of the 2023 only sought to make “trigger activators,” or devices that could make a semi-auto gun fire at the same rate as full-auto guns, illegal. Even that narrowly-tailored bill failed to pass Colorado’s staunchly Democrat senate, failing in a 6-7 vote.

Final Thoughts

The lack of political support for an AWB hasn’t stopped Colorado Democrats from passing other gun control laws in recent years. Since 2013, gun owners in the Centennial state have seen their rights slowly eroding. Expanded background checks, red flag laws, safe storage laws, and waiting periods have all made their way onto the books in Colorado over the last decade.

Hopefully the 2024 AWB will end up dead on the capital floor just like last year’s bill. Even if it does, though, I’m not particularly hopeful for the future. It seems like the national gun control apparatus has set its sights on “Californifying” Colorado, and they’re going to just keep ramming this kind of bill through the legislative system until it passes.

This isn’t the only gun control law state Democrats have introduced into this legislative session, either. There’s also a proposal on the books that would require Colorado gun owners to buy insurance to own a gun.

We’ll see what the future holds for this law. Good luck to everyone out there in Colorado – you’re going to need it.