No TMJ April Fool’s Joke This Time! State Lawmakers “Coming For Your Guns”

Local Leaders Fuming over Plans for Semi-Automatic Gun Ban

Trevor Phipps

When the Colorado legislative session began in January, the Teller County Commissioners warned residents that the super majority of Democratic lawmakers would be “coming for your guns.”

This fight, often pitting rural and urban interests against each other, may soon reach a conclusion, with gun store operators possibly emerging as the big losers. In addition, the battle has gotten the attention of local law officers and those who cherish their Second Amendment rights regarding gun ownership and the ability to purchase and carry firearms, according to critics of the state gun control legislation.

Earlier this month, headlines rang across the state proving that lawmakers are vying to drastically restrict gun ownership in Colorado. On April 14, Colorado’s House of Representatives passed House Bill 24-1292 called “Prohibit Certain Weapons Used in Mass Shootings” with a 35-27 vote.


The bill defines the term “assault weapon” and makes it illegal to manufacture, import, purchase or sell any gun that is semi-automatic. The bill also bans people from possessing a “rapid-fire trigger activator.”


The bill comes about during this year’s legislative session. It comes in the wake of a proposed assault weapons ban that was killed at the end of 2023 session.  Supporters of the bill say that its passage would reduce firearm-related crimes and that “assault weapons” have no place in society.


On the other side, though, many say that the new law would ban the majority of guns sold in the state, making the bill unconstitutional. Colorado Governor Jared Polis has also spoken out against the possible weapons ban saying that people could then just cross state lines and purchase firearms in other states.


According to Teller County Commission Vice-Chairman Erik Stone, this bill and others are direct violations of the citizens’ Second Amendment Rights that protect their right to bear arms. Stone said that nine Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against the bill, and he thinks that it will not pass through the state Senate. And he said if it does pass, lawsuits are bound to fly.


“Basically, that bill would ban 80 percent of all firearms in the state of Colorado,” Stone said. “It would ban every semi-automatic firearm, handguns and rifles. It would probably ban 95 percent or more of the firearms that people actually buy. This isn’t even limited to what they call ‘assault weapons.’”


Stone also said that the bill’s passage could be extremely detrimental to the state’s firearm industry. “It’s pretty simple, when you eliminate 80 percent of what somebody can sell they will no longer be a viable business,” Stone said. “If all you can sell are bolt-action hunting rifles and revolvers not only will there not be much business, but frankly there will be, in my opinion, a very active black market business in adjacent states.”


Other Anti-Gun Bills Move Forward


But even if HB 24-1292 fails in the state Senate committee stage like Stone thinks it will, there are other bills that restrict gun possession that are making their way through the legislature. And according to Stone, most of these other anti-gun bills will most likely pass.


One of the proposed laws Stone said he is worried about is Senate Bill 24-131 called “Prohibiting Carrying Firearms in Sensitive Spaces.” If passed, the bill would make it illegal to carry a firearm (both openly or concealed) in specified public places including schools and certain government buildings. The bill passed in the State Senate on April 3 and it has since been introduced to the State House Judiciary Committee.


“It is completely unconstitutional because it goes as far to say that a parking lot is a sensitive space,” Stone explained. “So, you can leave your home with a concealed carry permit, but you cannot go to a parking lot. In other words, you can’t drive anywhere. The only place you would be able to legally carry is walking down some streets (not all streets) and private property and that’s about it. But not all private property because they are going to ban carrying guns on some types of private property like churches or places like restaurants that serve alcohol as well.”


Another law that has got the attention of Teller County Commissioners is House Bill 24-1174 called “Concealed Carry Permits & Training” that would put higher standards on getting a concealed carry permit. But being also a concealed carry instructor, Stone said that the laws will not work how the bills’ supporters think they will.


“The legislature does not focus on the people who commit crimes,” Stone said. “All of these laws are only targeting law-abiding gun owners.”


Stone said that HB 24-1174 aimed at making it harder to get a concealed carry permit is targeting the wrong group of people. “According to the FBI, of all of the groups that they track, the group that is the least likely to commit a violent crime in the United States are concealed carry handgun permit owners,” Stone said. “And they are lower than law enforcement. According to the FBI, law enforcement is four times more likely to commit a violent crime than a concealed carry permit holder.”


Stone said that hopefully many of these bills won’t get signed into law by the governor. And if they do, there is a good chance the state will get sued by pro-gun organizations, according to critics of the new gun control measures. Stone said the best action local residents can take in joining the fight against anti-gun bills is quite simple:  Write their representatives and get out and vote.


“People need to pay attention because frankly you get what you vote for,” Stone said. “When the state votes for a super majority in the Colorado legislature this is what we get. If you vote for a Democrat representative or governor this is what you get. If they could eliminate the Second Amendment they would.”