News (USA)

Out Colorado Governor Jared Polis signs four new gun control laws in wake of Club Q shooting

Jared Polis (CO gov site)
Jared PolisPhoto: State of Colorado

Five and a half months after the deadly Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, out gay Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed four new gun control bills into law – and a gun rights group is already suing.

The laws raise the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 (though there are exceptions); establish a three-day waiting period before a gun can be delivered after purchase and a background check; remove liability protections to make it easier for gun violence victims to sue manufacturers for defective products; and expand the state’s red flag law.

Also known as an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), the red flag law says that members of law enforcement, family members, and roommates can request the temporary removal of a person’s firearms from their possession if they believe them to be a danger to others or themselves. It also prevents them from purchasing more weapons. According to CNN, the updated law allows a broader range of people to petition for an ERPO, such as mental health care providers, educators, medical care providers, and district attorneys.

“Today we are taking important steps to help make Colorado one of the ten safest states, and building upon the ongoing work to make Colorado communities safer,” Polis said while signing the bills.

“Coloradoans deserve to be safe in our communities, in our schools, in our grocery stores, in our nightclubs.”

The laws come after a shooter opened fire at the Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ nightclub, Club Q, killing five people and injuring 18. In the weeks following, Polis pledged to update gun control laws.

State Rep. Judy Amabile (D), a sponsor of the waiting period law, celebrated its passage and said a waiting period is what saved her son’s life.

“Waiting periods are a necessary buffer when someone in a crisis wants a gun to cause harm to themselves or others,” Amabile said in a statement.“My son’s life was spared because his background check was delayed when he went to our local gun store. To this day, he is grateful that he didn’t have instant access to a firearm at that moment. I’m confident that this legislation will help save other Colorado lives from senseless and preventable gun death.”

Out White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also applauded the governor’s move. “Today, Colorado has enacted four common-sense gun reforms,” she tweeted, “including elimination of some of the barriers to holding gun manufacturers and dealers accountable. Thank you, Colorado leaders and gun violence survivors, for this important step forward.”

While many celebrated the enhanced safety measures, the grassroots organization Rocky Mountain Gun Owners immediately filed lawsuits against the new age restriction and waiting period. The group claims both violate the Second Amendment.

“Gun owners’ rights are being ravaged in the Colorado legislature by the puppets of Everytown for Gun Control and Michael Bloomberg,” Taylor Rhodes, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “They will not be happy until all law-abiding gun owners are disarmed, and only the criminals have guns.”

Rhodes continued, “When a single mother is being harassed by a violent, abusive former partner, the Democrats at the Capitol think it is fine to make her wait at least three days to defend herself and her baby. And if she is twenty, these gun control fanatics insist she is completely defenseless.”

In 2021, gun deaths in Colorado reached a 40-year high. Data shows that 23,500 people died by firearms between 1980 and 2021, with the death rate reaching 18.2 per 100,000 people in 2021 (compared to 16.3 in 1981). An analysis from the Colorado Sun found that most gun deaths (almost three-quarters) are suicides, followed by homicides.

Data for 2022 has not yet been released.

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