DENVER (KDVR) — A bill that would raise to age to 21 to buy any gun in Colorado is one step closer to becoming law.
Senate Bill 23-169 has already cleared the Senate. On Monday, it passed the House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs committee in a 7-4 vote and now heads to the full chamber for debate.
“By increasing the minimum age for firearm purchase, we can protect Colorado kids and youth from senseless gun violence and improve public safety by reducing firearm-related homicides,” bill sponsor Rep. Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial, said in a statement.
To bolster their proposal, Colorado Democrats have pointed to research that finds firearms are the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S. and that youth suicide by gun is on the rise.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the Colorado affiliate of the National Association for Gun Rights, has already sued over various gun reform efforts by state and local governments. After Monday’s vote, the group threatened to sue if this bill becomes law.
“18 to 20-year-old Coloradoans can vote, marry, buy or sell property, sue or be sued, sign contracts, purchase high-potency marijuana, and even send someone to jail for life, but they would become criminals if they even attempted to defend themselves or their families by purchasing a firearm,” the group tweeted about the proposal.
Gun-buying age in Colorado would have exceptions
Federal law already limits handgun purchases to people 21 years and older, but for shotguns and rifles, the age minimum is 18.
The proposed Colorado law would set the floor at 21 years old for any gun purchase, with some exceptions. One major exception includes people who are at least 18 years old when the bill would be enacted this year.
Exceptions also include on-duty peace officers and active military members aged 18-21. People under 21 could also have a gun while attending a hunter’s or firearms safety course, as long as they are accompanied by a peace officer or someone who is at least 25 years old and is certified to teach those subjects.
A violation of the crime would start as a misdemeanor and advance to a felony if violated more than once.
This bill is one of a handful of gun-related proposals advancing in the Colorado General Assembly.
Others would introduce a three-day waiting period, give gun violence victims more avenues to sue gun manufacturers and expand who could file under the state’s red flag law.