Despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision expanding Second Amendment rights, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) signed four gun control bills into law on Friday morning.
The new laws increase the age at which a person can legally purchase a firearm to 21, establishes a three-day waiting period, extends the application of the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law (Red Flag Law), and streamlines the process by which victims of gun violence can file lawsuits against the firearms industry.
According to the AP, Democrats in Colorado say the new regulations are meant to reduce suicides and teenage violence, prevent mass shootings, and provide victims of such deaths the right to sue the firearms industry.
“Coloradans deserve to be safe in our communities, in our schools, our grocery stores, nightclubs, and everywhere in between,” Polis said during the signing ceremony at the Capitol.
Colorado News Online reported:
Under Senate Bill 23-170, district attorneys, educators, mental health professionals and other medical providers will be able to petition a judge to confiscate guns from a potentially dangerous person. Previously, only law enforcement and family members had that power under the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law, also known as the red flag law, which was created in 2019.
The expansion aims to increase utilization of the process and extend the petition authority to people who interact with an at-risk person regularly. It is a recognition that some law enforcement officials have been reluctant to use the red flag law when potentially appropriate due to concerns over the Second Amendment.
Senate Bill 23-169 raises the age to purchase any gun to 21 years old. Previously, the age restriction was 18 to buy a long gun and 21 to buy a handgun. There are exceptions for members of law enforcement and the military.
House Bill 23-1219 imposes a three-day waiting period for people to get a gun after they pay for it. Bill sponsors said that the delayed access to firearms will provide a cooling-off period for people in crisis who might harm themselves or others.
Cities will be able to establish longer waiting periods if they choose. If the purchaser’s background check takes longer than three days — which it rarely does — they would still need to wait until the background check clears to get their gun.
Finally, Senate Bill 23-168 removes a state protection for gun and ammunition dealers and manufactures against lawsuits. Previously, plaintiffs had to pay the legal fees for defendants in dismissed cases involving gun sellers. That is no longer the case.
The law makes the gun industry susceptible to lawsuits under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
Republicans criticized the bills as a violation of Second Amendment rights that would make it more difficult for Coloradans to defend themselves in the face of a rising crime rate.
According to Fox News, “the new laws will likely be tested in court, with gun advocates threatening lawsuits and citing a Supreme Court decision last year in New York that expanded Second Amendment rights and opened the door for challenges to gun restrictions nationwide.”