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Colorado's 'assault' weapons ban to be killed in committee Tuesday, Senate sponsor says

HB24-1292, which made history for clearing the House chamber in March, faced an uphill battle in the Senate
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Posted at 9:20 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 11:58:39-04

DENVER — A bill that would have banned the transfer, sale and purchase of certain high-powered semi-automatic weapons in Colorado will have no chance of becoming law this year, its sponsor in the State Senate said Monday afternoon.

In a statement, Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat and the Senate sponsor of HB24-1292, said that she intends to request that the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee indefinitely postpone the proposal banning so-called assault weapons on Tuesday.

The move effectively kills the bill from further consideration for the remainder of the 2024 legislative session, which ends Wednesday.

“After thoughtful conversations with my Senate colleagues, I decided that more conversations need to take place outside of the pressure cooker of the Capitol during the last weeks of the legislative session,” Sen. Gonzales said in her statement. “In that spirit, I look forward to renewing and continuing those discussions over the interim.”

HB24-1292, sponsored by State Reps. Elisabeth Epps and Tim Hernández, would have defined what type of firearms constitute an “assault weapon” and would have banned the manufacture, transfer, sale or purchase of such weapons in the state of Colorado. It would have also banned the possession of rapid-fire trigger activators – devices that can be attached to a gun to increase the speed at which it fires rounds.

The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on March 19 in a party-line vote of 7-3 – the first time in state history in which a proposal to ban "assault" weapons had made it to the State House floor for debate, according to Hernández.

While the bill was expected to easily pass the Democrat-controlled House, it faced an uphill battle in the State Senate, where more moderate Democrats serve. It was also not clear whether Gov. Polis would have signed the bill had it made it to his desk.

The bill was backed by several gun control groups as well as the City of Denver and Denver Public Schools, according to lobbyist records from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.

It was fiercely opposed by gun rights groups, the County Sheriffs of Colorado, as well as Colorado Republicans.

“I can tell you – from rural Colorado – the one thing that people hold most dear would be their property, and firearms are right there with it,” State Rep. Matt Soper previously told Denver7. “Firearms are very symbolic of our way of life, of who we are.”

HB24-1292 was one of several gun control bills introduced this year.

HB24-131, which would ban carrying firearms, both openly and concealed from "sensitive spaces" including public parks, community centers, rallies, protests, churches, and amusement parks, continues to make its way through the legislature.