In a bid to tighten gun control measures, Colorado Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for a series of gun control bills that aim to make it more difficult for residents to purchase and carry firearms. The proposed legislation has gained momentum within the state’s Democratic-controlled general assembly, with little attention from the public until now.

The nine bills, if passed, would ban the possession of “assault weapons” or semiautomatic rifles like AR-15s, impose an 11% tax on ammunition and gun sales, restrict the carrying of firearms in public places, and mandate the storage of firearms in vehicles. These measures have sparked controversy among gun rights activists and Republicans, who argue that the proposed laws overregulate law-abiding citizens instead of targeting criminals.

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Ava Flanell, a firearms instructor from Colorado Springs, expressed concern that these bills are being used as blueprints for other states. “Lawmakers are implementing them across the country at a state level because they don’t have the votes to do it nationally,” Flanell said. She further highlighted how similar laws passed in Washington last year had negatively impacted gun stores without any positive impact on reducing crime.

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The state House has already approved one of the bills, focusing on increasing concealed carry training along party lines. Additionally, the state Senate passed legislation that would allocate funds to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for investigating crimes related to the illegal use of firearms.

While Democrats argue that these bills would help decrease gun violence, Republicans and gun rights activists view them as unnecessary regulations that infringe upon Second Amendment rights. Republican state Rep. Scott Bottoms raised concerns regarding the proposed legislation, questioning why it should be made difficult or impossible for individuals to exercise their Second Amendment rights without adequate support and funding.

Gun rights activist Flanell highlighted research showing that most mass shootings occur in gun-free zones, further criticizing the proposed bills for disproportionately affecting underprivileged individuals and limiting their ability to protect themselves. She stressed that self-defense is not a sin but rather a fundamental human right.

Colorado’s push for stricter gun control laws follows the footsteps of other states, such as California, which has already imposed an 11% tax on ammunition and gun sales while attempting to ban semiautomatic rifles. Last year, California lawmakers also enacted a comprehensive ban on firearms in sensitive locations. Notably, the state of Washington recently passed a ban on “assault weapons” as well.

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