Colorado Democrats eye gun-purchase waiting periods, ban on so-called assault weapons, and red flag law expansion

In response to last month’s shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub, Democrats at the State Capitol are considering a host of gun laws changes in Colorado. These include a ban on assault weapons and tweaks to the existing Red Flag law.

“Pretty much everything” is the consensus of Senate President Steve Fenberg (a Boulder Democrat). “The question is now: What seems like priority?”

In January, Democrats will be returning to Colorado’s Capitol with increased majorities in the House and Senate. They are also under pressure to act following the latest mass shooting in the state. A 22-year old shooter with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle allegedly attacked Club Q on Nov. 19, killing five people and injuring more than a dozen more.

The first major test for Democrats’ expanding majority at the Capitol next January could be gun policy. The 2013 recalls by Democratic legislators over stricter gun regulations in the wake the Aurora theater shooting are still a part of our collective memory. However, Colorado is now a much more politically diverse state than it was a decade ago. The Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate are nearly guaranteed until January 2027.


Eileen McCarron of Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action said that “Clearly, mental stability plays a significant role in firearm safety.” However, it’s difficult to address legislatively. “But we must confront the elephant in the room: assault weaponry.

Adam Shore, the group’s executive director, stated that Colorado must “get to the root of why these individuals are killing others while simultaneously reducing the chaos by ensuring these weapons of war remain where they belong — on the battlefield.”

Auon’tai “Tay,” a Denver Public Schools Board member, tweeted that Democrats should use their majority at Capitol to pass an “assault weapons ban.”

Anderson tweeted, “If people refuse to act vote them out.”

Fenberg said that gun control discussions were ongoing even before the Club Q shootings and suggested that a ban on assault weapons was a possibility. It is difficult to figure out how to create the policy. This includes how to define an assault weapon, what to do with weapons already in Colorado, and how to deal with people who travel to neighboring states in order to buy weapons that would not be allowed in Colorado.

He said, “I have always stated that I support an assault weapons prohibition.” “I don’t believe it makes sense for people to be able to purchase weapons of war in this age and time. It’s something we need to ensure the policy is correct. There are still discussions about the policy, I believe.

It is more likely that Democrats will pursue other changes in Colorado’s gun laws, such as raising Colorado’s minimum age to buy a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21. Colorado’s minimum age for purchasing handguns is 21.

If you’re under 21 years old, it is illegal in Delaware, Florida and Hawaii to buy a firearm.

Centennial Democrat Tom Sullivan is currently working to change the minimum age for purchasing a gun. Although he initially proposed raising the age for assault weapons only, Sullivan now believes that a wider change would be more practical.

“This kind of will save our having to come up a definition for assault weapons,” stated Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed in the Aurora theater shooting of 2012. “And that seems like the consensus that’s being heard from the rest of our caucus.”

Sullivan believes that the legislature should have increased the minimum age for purchasing rifles and shotguns in the last year.

“We had the votes, it was put together, but our leadership would not allow that to occur last year,” Sullivan stated.

Already, there are discussions about the possibility of imposing a waiting period between purchasing a weapon and being able to access it. This would mirror policies in California and Hawaii which have 10- and 14 day waiting periods. There is a 72-hour wait period before someone can buy a firearm, and then they can access it.

Reports suggest that Club Q’s shooter might have used “ghost weapons,” which are homemade firearms without serial numbers. Sullivan stated that he would also like to see legislation to regulate them.

Colorado requires background checks for all gun purchases. It also has laws that limit gun magazines to 15 rounds and require safe storage. The law requires that anyone who loses or steals their guns report it to law enforcement. There is also a temporary ban on firearm purchases for those convicted of violent crimes.

After the 2021 repeal of a preemption law, Colorado’s legislature has allowed municipalities and counties to adopt gun regulations that are stricter than those in the state.

The red flag law is a 2019 policy that allows judges to temporarily seize firearms from individuals deemed to pose a risk to themselves or others. Discussions are focused on expanding the range of people who can request a seizure. The only people who can petition a judge for a seizure order are law enforcement officers and their families.

Gov. Jared Polis supports adding district attorneys to this list. Others have suggested that the attorney general’s and teachers should also be allowed to request seizures.

Polis stated to Chuck Todd that they would be looking at the reasons the red flag law was not used in the King Soopers shooting case.

Polis, a Democrat has been more supportive of the Club Q shooting to change the red flag law, making sure that Coloradans are aware of it, and bolstering mental healthcare offerings rather than increasing the number of gun laws in the state.

Polis stated that Colorado has a magazine limit — not more than 15 bullets per magazine — which reduces the power of high-powered weapons for doing harm. He spoke to NBC News about the possibility of a ban on assault weapons.

Polis stated that he would support a national effort for additional licensing or background checks for those trying to buy “some of the highest-powered weapons.” President Joe Biden called for an end to so-called assault weapons following the Club Q shooting.

The weapons used in the Club Q shooting are not being provided by authorities.

Sullivan believes it would be more beneficial for a federal ban on assault weapons to be pursued, as C