COLORADO SPRINGS — Starting next week you'll have to be at least 21 if you want to purchase any gun in Colorado. A new law is raising the minimum age requirement from 18 to 21.
The change in law is part of a bill package aimed at reducing gun violence in the state. Those for it say it'll keep communities safer, but others say the law goes against the second amendment rights to bear arms.
“I think it's unconstitutional,” said Paul Paradis, the owner of Paradise Sales on the west side of Colorado Springs. “That's what's happening to our constitutional rights. They're just slowly eroding from different entities in our society.”
Paradis has owned paradise sales for just over 40 years and said up to 20% of his business are from 18 to 20-year-olds. When asked if he believes the law will hurt his business, he said, “Of, of course it’s going to hurt.”
The new law also makes it illegal to sell any gun to someone younger than 21.
Under the law, purchasing a firearm under 21 years of age is a class two misdemeanor. Anyone who sells a firearm to someone younger than 21 could be charged with a class one misdemeanor. Federal law already prohibits people under 21 from buying handguns.
“My hope is that this is really going to make our community safer and save lives,” said Monica Duran, Colorado House Majority Leader.
Representative Duran is also one of the prime sponsors for the bill.
Some exceptions include 18 to 20-year-olds who are peace officers or active-duty military.
“I grew up in the military, my dad was in the Air Force for 30 years, and I have a brother who went to West Point. So understanding those perspectives are were really important,” said Duran.
Duran also said gun violence among young adults, including suicides, is on the rise. She believes the law could prevent these trends.
“When we're talking about suicides, we're talking about those young folks between the age of 18 and 21. But bringing them to the table to hear these stories and having these tough conversations is really where we realized that we really needed to do something,” said Duran.
However business owners like Paradis say the law will hurt business and young people.
“Especially southern Colorado, there are a lot of farming communities. There are a lot of young people that use firearms to protect cattle livestock,” said Paradis. “Not only just for self defense, but for protection, when you're camping for protecting your farm or ranch, and I think they're really hurting a lot of different people.”
On Thursday afternoon, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners filed a temporary restraining order against this law. They already filed a preliminary injunction in June, but that motion has yet to be decided by a judge.
Paradis added, “We're going to have to wait and see is what the court is going to say on the constitutionality of this, and I really believe that this Court is going to find it unconstitutional.”
The state has until Monday to respond to the temporary restraining order.
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