Colorado governor signs gun bills into law, overhauling state gun regulations News
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Colorado governor signs gun bills into law, overhauling state gun regulations

Colorado Governor Jared Polis Friday signed four gun control bills into law, resulting in a rigid tightening of gun legislation in the state. The bills are aimed at preventing gun violence by raising the minimum age to purchase firearms, imposing a three-day waiting period on firearm purchases, expanding the state’s red flag law, and removing the protections afforded to gun manufacturers and sellers against lawsuits.

Senate Bill 169 raises the minimum age required to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. The law also requires licensed dealers to perform background checks to confirm the buyer’s age before transferring the firearm to the buyer.

House Bill 1219 establishes a three-day waiting period before a licensed firearm dealer can transfer the firearm into the possession of the buyer. This period allows the dealer to conduct background checks, and the delay in the access to firearms can help prevent “impulsive acts of firearm violences,” the law claims. Exceptions to the waiting period include: sales of antique firearms, the sale of firearms to individuals in the military, the sale of firearms to any family member of an individual in the military who will be deployed within thirty day, the sale of firearms to an individual to whom the person is legally married, any family member of the seller or seller’s spouse, and any other individual with whom the seller can show they have a significant personal bond with.

Senate Bill 170 expands the state’s existing Extreme Risk Protection Order Petition, or “red flag” law, which was created in 2019 to allow judges to order temporary seizures of firearms from people deemed a significant threat to themselves or others. Senate Bill 170 expands the individuals who can petition a judge to issue such an order from family members and law enforcement to health care providers, mental health providers, district attorneys and teachers.

Senate Bill 170 requires that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spearhead an education campaign for the red flag law. It also requires the Colorado Department of Public Safety to set up a hotline designed to help the public gain access to information about how to request a gun seizure and gain access to the correct sources.

Finally, Senate Bill 168 eases gun violence victims’ access to the judicial system by removing extra protections afforded to gun manufacturers and sellers. Now, victims of gun violence who bring suit against gun manufacturers and sellers will no longer be required to pay the defendants’ attorneys fees if the case is dismissed. They will also be able to bring suits against manufacturers and sellers under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.

The overhaul of Colorado’s gun legislation comes five months after a shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in the state, which raised questions about Colorado’s gun restrictions—particularly the red flag law that was expanded Friday.