Colorado Passes New Gun Laws

Sophie Alsmaan, StaffWriter

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed four new bills into action on April 28, 2023, raising the age requirement for gun possession and gun deliveries, now with a three-day waiting period before the delivery of a firearm purchased following a background check. Polis announced that “today we are taking some important steps to help make Colorado one of the ten safest states, and building upon the ongoing work to make Colorado communities safer,” adding the new laws will “improve public safety and reduce gun violence.” These laws come amid the political debate over gun control and mental health, months after a mass shooting left five people dead and more than a dozen people injured at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs in November. According to the Gun Violence Archive, last year there were 646 mass shootings in America, and so far this year there have been at least 172. Under Colorado’s new gun laws, residents must be 21 years old to legally possess a gun, increasing the requirement from 18 years of age.

A violation of the waiting period will result in a $500 fine for the first violation and up to $5,000 for subsequent violations. One of the new laws expands the state’s red flag law, allowing law enforcement, family members, or a household member to petition a judge to temporarily seize a person’s firearms if they are deemed a risk. More people will be allowed to petition for an extreme risk protection order, including district attorneys, licensed educators, licensed medical care providers, and licensed mental health care providers. Another measure removes the liable protection for manufacturers whose firearms or ammunition may have defects. It “requires each industry member that is engaged in the manufacture, distribution, importation, marketing, wholesale, or retail sale of an industry product in Colorado to establish and implement reasonable controls and precautions related to the industry product in its control,” says the legislation summary. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre applauded this development. “Today, Colorado has enacted four common-sense gun reforms, including elimination of some of the barriers to holding gun manufacturers and dealers accountable,” Jean-Pierre tweeted. “Thank you, Colorado leaders and gun violence survivors, for this important step forward,” she added. Several Democratic led states have now passed very similar gun control laws in recent weeks. Earlier this month, MI Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed six new bills creating a universal background check for all firearms, mandating safe storage around children. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a ban on most sales of assault-style weapons. Some Republican governors have also signed bills this year expanding access to firearms. Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen signed a permitless concealed carry bill into law similar to the one enacted in Florida last month. Twenty-seven states now don’t require a permit to carry a concealed weapon publicly.