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Colorado Introducing 'Assault Weapons' Ban

Proposed bill is part of four separate pieces of gun control legislation moving through the state legislature

Colorado Introducing 'Assault Weapons' Ban

Colorado state officials are planning to introduce a gun control bill that bans assault weapons, according to a leaked draft of the legislation published by a gun rights lobbying organization.

Sixteen pages of a draft version of the bill — with the bill’s topic formally listed as “Prohibition Of Assault Weapons In CO” — were published in a Twitter post by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an organization with more than 200,000 pro-Second Amendment grassroots activists.

It is unclear how the draft version of the legislation was obtained, but the sponsors listed are State Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, State Rep. Elisabeth Epps, and State Sen. Rhonda Fields.

The bill would prohibit an individual from “possessing, manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, offering to sell, or transferring ownership of an assault weapon,” according to the draft.

Should the bill pass, current owners of firearms that state officials classify as “assault weapons” may be grandfathered in and excluded from the ban if certain conditions are met, including maintaining paperwork showing legal ownership prior to the effective date of the bill, and securely storing the firearm. It is unclear how officials intend to enforce storage rules.

Violators of the law could be charged with either a class two misdemeanor (punishable by up to 120 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $750), or a class 6 felony (punishable by a jail term between 12 - 18 months and fines between $1,000 and $100,000).

The proposed legislation notes multiple mass shootings that have taken place in Colorado, including at Columbine High School, Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, and an LGBTQ nightclub called Club Q.

Authors of the legislation falsely state that assault weapons are “disproportionally used in public mass shootings” while arguing that of shootings with known weapon types “76 percent of those involved an assault weapon to high-capacity magazine, compared to 44 percent of those that involved a handgun.”

According to the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice, more than 77 percent of mass shootings are committed with handguns, while only 25 percent are committed with weapons commonly termed “assault rifles.”

The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said in a subsequent post that they will sue to stop the legislation and anticipate costs exceeding one million dollars.

Taylor D. Rhodes, Executive Director for the organization, posted a video to Twitter saying that state officials have a suite of four separate bills lined up which aim to severely restrict who can carry firearms.

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