Ghost Guns to Become Illegal
The current year on the Colorado legislative front could go down as a record for gun control bills to the dismay of local elected leaders and law enforcement officials, who have fired a volley of counter bullets.
This gun control movement took another big turn as state lawmakers now are seeking to make “ghost guns” illegal. The use of ghost guns, which are non-serialized firearms that can be assembled from kits or printed by a 3D printer, have escalated in the last few years. Estimates indicated that 20,000 suspected ghost guns were recovered by law enforcement in criminal investigations in 2021, based on reports made by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The latest bill, proposed last week by Sens. Chris Hansen and Rhonda Fields, both Democrats from the Denver area, would ban ghost guns in Colorado, and provide a compliance period for those who current own these weapons. The owner of a ghost gun would also have to go through a background check and other restrictions. The purchase of the ghost gun kits and related components, though, would not be outlawed, under the proposed plan.
The latest gun control legislation is gaining steam due to highly publicized mass shootings in Colorado, including an incident at a club in Colorado Springs
To date, a bombardment of gun control bills have proposed; and in fact, four are now just waiting for the signature of Governor Jared Polis. They include regulations to expand the list of people who can seek extreme risk protection orders, know as the Red Flag provisions, a ban on the sale of firearms to those under the age of 21, a proposal for requiring a three-day waiting period involving the purchase of a gun and a measure that would allow victims of gun violence to sue gun manufacturers and dealers in civil court.
Another gun control bill, which hasn’t been finalized yet, would allow counties to outlaw the discharge of a firearm within neighborhoods where there are at least 35 dwellings, per square mile. There are additional gun related bills on the table, but it’s not sure if time will allow them to get resolved.
The Teller County commissioners have consistently objected to these plans, accusing lawmakers of over-reacting to these shootings by proposing laws that don’t really address the problem. Their regular meetings have been highlighted by legislative updates and the verbal firing away against the latest gun proposed plans.
But they face tough odds in fighting the current wave of gun control legislation, with the Democratic Party, which is mostly supporting these efforts, holding historic majorities in the state House and Senate. Teller County Commission Chairman Erik Stone believes that several of these measures will get thrown out in court.
He also notes that history is not on the side of the proponents of these bills, with a previous effort in Colorado resulting in the ouster of key gun control lawmakers. Colorado is not known as a state that sports a heavy gun control track record; but recent shootings have changed this mindset considerably.
Another wild card involved in this issue deals with the fact that the Biden administration will oversee the monitoring of ghost gun kits, which aren’t being barred by the latest state proposal. The White House is also seeking more gun control on a national level, but their efforts to date have been stalled.