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Colorado’s “Assault Weapons” Ban Fails Again

Here is what you need to know

For the second year in a row, the Colorado legislature has failed to pass a wildly unconstitutional measure that would have banned “assault weapons.”

House Bill 1292, which passed the Colorado State House by a vote of 35-27, targeted a wide range of popular weapons including any semi-automatic rifle that can accept a detachable magazine, AR-15 and AK-47- style rifles and pistols, and any semi-automatic rifles, pistols or shotguns that can accept or be modified to accept a fixed large-capacity magazine. The bill stated that Coloradans would not face state confiscation of their would-be illegal weapons, but would be prohibited from acquiring more.

HB 1292 was slated to move onto the state senate until the bill’s sponsor Senator Julie Gonzalas (D-Denver) announced that she was recommending that the bill be shelved. “I intend to request that the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs committee postpone indefinitely HB24-1292, the assault weapons ban, on May 7, 2024,” Gonzales said in a statement. “That being said, I couldn’t be prouder of my colleagues in the House of Representatives for passing an assault weapons ban for the first time in Colorado history. 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.”

Opposition in the state senate may have come from influential Senator Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial,) a gun-control advocate, but one who has recently questioned whether an “assault weapons” ban would be effective. Similar misgivings have been articulated by Democratic Governor Jared Polis who favors federal action. “I’ve long been skeptical of discussions around ‘this kind of equipment versus that kind of equipment.” the governor told the Colorado Sun.

Supporters of gun rights are sleeping easier across the Centennial state, and taking a victory lap. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Second Amendment advocacy group made 65,000 calls and sent over 150,000 emails opposing what they called a “totalitarian measure” posted on social media “It’s dead!!! We have officially KILLED the 2024 “Assault Weapons ban”! Thank you ALL for your hard work and activism to make this happen.” The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action called the bill’s defeat “a critical victory for all law-abiding gun owners in Colorado!”

A 2021 survey conducted by Georgetown University reveals that the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America with around 25 million individuals holding at least 44 million of the handy semi-autos in private hands. The average American gun owner owns 5 firearms and nearly half (48%) own a so-called high-capacity weapon (capable of holding a magazine containing 10+ rounds) that would have been prohibited under the Colorado ‘assault weapons” ban. As of 2021, 81.4 million Americans owned a whopping 415 million firearms, consisting of approximately 171 million handguns, 146 million rifles, and 98 million shotguns.

While the Second Amendment continues to come under fire in some states, across the country Americans, by and large, have seen their right to keep and bear arms upheld by the Supreme Court and expanded by state legislatures. Unlike other recent SCOTUS decisions like Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned Roe v. Wade, the court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which upheld individual gun rights, remains popular nationally. Louisiana recently became the 28th state to make “constitutional carry” the law of the land, eliminating the legal requirement for a concealed carry permit. Before 2003, only Vermont allowed its citizens to conceal a pistol without a permit.

Colorado state senators have already pledged to re-introduce the so-called assault weapons ban, next year.


Brady Leonard is a musician, political strategist, and podcaster based in Toledo, Ohio. The No Gimmicks Podcast airs Mondays and Wednesdays at 1pm EST, wherever podcasts are found.
Catalyst articles by Brady Leonard