An ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban That Looked Like a Sure Thing Dies in Colorado

AR-15 rifle assault weapon of war
Dan Z. for SNW

Last month, anti-gun politicians in Colorado were like Anthony Adams, rubbing his hands together in anticipation while peeking out from behind a tree. The prize they had their eyes on? An “assault weapons” ban that looked like it was a sure thing. In a 35 to 27 vote in which no Republicans voted yes and several Democrats voted against, the state’s House of Representatives passed a wide-ranging law that would have violated the rights of both Coloradans and those passing through.

But the the eager anticipation of the forces of civilian disarmament have turned to bitter disappointment. On arrival in the Senate, the gun ban bill was assigned to the Senate State Military and Veterans Committee. Things looked promising because Democrats hold a 3-2 majority in that committee. What they didn’t anticipate was that a man on the committee whose son died in the Aurora theater shooting would actually oppose the bill.

“Banning? That doesn’t end well for us,” said Sen. Tom Sullivan to The Washington Post last year. “And I’m speaking as the father of a son who was murdered by an assault weapon.”

The governor also didn’t seem very supportive as he told reporters last year that he thinks restrictions on where people can carry would work if there were better enforcement. He also says he thinks other laws would work if people followed them, but offered no ideas on how to make criminals actually comply. What he’s skeptical of, though, is discussions on equipment, as he doesn’t think that would help.

Sullivan’s statement also hints at the effects of NYSRPA v. Bruen. What would definitely make an “assault weapon” ban not “end well” would be its sure fate in the courts. Similar laws have already been struck down, some of which were attempted by local governments in Colorado. So it seemed a sure thing that the state’s ban would run into the very same buzz saw.

Without Sen. Sullivan’s support, the bill is now dead at the request of its sponsor.

“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,” Senator Julie Gonzales said in a written statement. “In that spirit, I look forward to renewing and continuing those discussions over the interim.”

Gonzales went on to say that she thinks such a gun ban would work if given the chance, and mentioned survivors of past shootings to stimulate emotions and cut back on any critical thinking on the part of low information types. Really, though, it looks like she’s just embarrassed that her bill is now dead and that she was forced to withdraw it.

This isn’t the first time such a bill failed to make it into law in Colorado. Last year, a similar bill was introduced, but never even made it as far as a floor vote. The first committee to hear it didn’t pass it. Now the idea of a Colorado “assault weapons” ban is a two-time loser.

You can bet that the state’s Democrats will try this again in the next legislative session, but little is likely to change. The appetite for gun control among people in all parties and all ages just keeps dropping in the United States. Add the challenges the Bruen decision poses to restrictions on lawful gun ownership and any bill trying to ban firearms of any kind has little chance outside of the bluest of blue states like California, Illinois and New York.

While this was a victory for gun rights, there are gun control measures that still may get through this session. Possible violations of rights include an excise tax on guns and ammo, a “sensitive places” carry ban, an insurance mandate, and a dealer licensing bill. So, this is no time to let as the legislative session winds down.

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