Colorado House Passes Ban on Semiautomatic Firearms; Senate Approval Uncertain

By: Georgia | Published: Apr 18, 2024

The Colorado House of Representatives has passed a bill to ban the sale and transfer of semiautomatic firearms. 

The vote, split along party lines, ended at 35-27 in favor of the legislation. This decision sends the bill to the state Senate, where it is expected to encounter challenges. 

Senate's Hurdle Ahead

CBS News reports that after clearing the House, the bill now faces a tougher challenge in the Senate, where the Democrats’ control is less assured. 

Inside the Colorado Senate chamber, empty desks and chairs are arranged in a semicircular pattern around a central podium, with books, papers, and American flags adding to the scene of legislative order

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The stakes are high, and the upcoming discussions are expected to be intense, with the bill’s enactment hanging in the balance.

Defining the Dangerous

The bill aims to put a label on what exactly counts as an “assault weapon” and to ban these weapons from being made, sold, or even held in Colorado. 

A close-up view of a semiautomatic firearm with a large magazine, highlighting its black metal body, textured grip, and trigger mechanism

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The bill also targets rapid-fire trigger activators that increase a gun’s firing capability, addressing safety concerns over their potential for greater harm.

Pay Up or Lock Up

Violators of the proposed regulations could incur severe fines. 

A close-up image of a pile of U.S. one hundred dollar bills in various states of folding, with the number '100' and the words 'United States of America' visible

Source: Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash

Starting at $250,000 for the first offense and escalating to $500,000 for further infractions, the penalties underline the gravity with which Colorado views the unauthorized handling of these weapons.

The Governor's Two Cents

Colorado’s Governor, Jared Polis, is raising an eyebrow at this one. 

Governor Jared Polis, wearing a red jacket and white shirt, stands at a wooden podium addressing the media, with officials wearing masks and mountains in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Despite being from the same party pushing the bill, he’s not sold yet, echoing last year’s concerns about overstepping on gun rights and government reach.

Resistance from Rural Colorado

Firearms hold deep cultural significance in rural Colorado, where opposition to the bill is formidable. 

A breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, with jagged peaks and forested slopes under a clear blue sky, capturing the state's natural beauty and rugged terrain

Source: Peter Pryharski/Unsplash

State Representative Matt Soper said, “Firearms are very symbolic of our way of life, of who we are.” 


Enforcement Doubts Among Sheriffs

And it’s not just about lawmakers—Colorado’s sheriffs might not be on board either. 

Parked outside a building is a white Denver Sheriff Department K-9 unit SUV with blue and black decals

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Richard Holtorf predicts a hefty chunk of counties would choose the Constitution over this new statute. Exactly 47 out of 64, he believes, would choose not to enforce the statute.


Pushback from County Sheriffs

The County Sheriffs of Colorado have already signaled their opposition to the bill, complicating the potential for statewide enforcement.

A Douglas County Sheriff patrol SUV, painted black and blue with the words "SHERIFF" on the side, is parked on a sunny street

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Their resistance illustrates the deep divide between state legislation and local law enforcement priorities.


What's at Stake?

If the Senate gives the green light, Colorado will join the ranks of 10 other states that have already said no to semiautomatic guns.

Close-up view of a law enforcement officer's side, displaying a weapon

Source: shraga kopstein/Unsplash

This could put Colorado on the map as a leader in gun control.


The Heat of the Debate

With such high stakes, the debate is more than just legislative—it’s about identity, lifestyle, and rights. 

A person stands in a forest holding a shotgun at their side, showcasing the juxtaposition of human and nature

Source: Max Okhrimenko/Unsplash

Each side has very strong opinions, making the Senate’s decision one of the most anticipated political moves in Colorado this year.


Counting Down to Decision Day

As the Senate gears up to debate HB1292, anticipation and anxiety heighten over its potential impact.

Warm lighting illuminates the grand interior architecture of the Colorado State Capitol, highlighting ornate columns, intricate designs, and stained glass windows

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Will Colorado take a bold step forward in gun control, or will the echoes of past debates keep it in limbo?


A State on Edge

Colorado waits in suspense as the Senate deliberates on HB1292. 

The Colorado House of Representatives chamber lies quiet, with desks and chairs covered in plastic

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The outcome will not only influence the state’s legal framework but could also resonate across the U.S., potentially inspiring similar actions in other states.