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Colorado Gun Laws and How They Compare Nationally

Colorado Gun Laws and How They Compare Nationally

By    |   Friday, 19 September 2014 11:43 AM

When it comes to protecting the rights of gun owners, Colorado received a "C" grade, based on a national review of state laws in 30 different weapon-related areas.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence awarded points for having what it considered effective legislation in each policy area, with more points awarded for tougher laws.

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The final letter grade showed the state's overall strength or weakness. California received an A- and continues to boast the most stringent gun reform measures in the country, while Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming, and South Dakota represent the states with the broadest interpretation of Second Amendment rights.

Colorado, which has endured fatal shootings at Columbine High School, Arapahoe High School, and inside a movie theater in Aurora, ranked 15th in the U.S., but has since enacted some additional gun control laws in 2013.

Despite opposition from gun advocates, a largely Democratic Colorado state legislature implemented some of the nation’s strictest gun legislation in the past year, including more expansive background checks on all gun sales, online or in-person, and limiting the size of high-capacity ammunition magazines, or "assault" rifles.

Lawmakers were largely helped by cascading public support in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

Still, Colorado doesn't prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, impose a waiting period on firearm purchases, or require firearm dealers to have a license, register their firearms, or report lost or stolen items.

Local gun laws are intended to fill gaps in federal laws, and keep people safe. Of the 10 states with the strongest gun laws, seven are among those with the lowest gun-related death rates, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

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In late June, a federal judge upheld the Colorado's new gun control laws that required
background checks for all gun sales and limited the capacity of ammunition magazines to no
more than 15 rounds.

Sen. Mary Hodge, D-Thornton, who was the Senate sponsor of the bill, praised the decision of U.S. District Chief Judge Marcia Krieger.

"This is public safety. Having people have to pause to reload saves lives," Hodge said. "These school shooters, for the most part, did not know how to reload their weapons, so this limit on large-capacity magazines is good."

The plantiffs, which included sheriffs, gun shops, outfitters, and shooting ranges, claimed the new laws are an affront on their right to keep and bear arms — and promised an appeal.

"While we respect the judge's ruling ... we believe that it is plainly wrong on the law and on the facts," Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said at a Denver press conference after the June ruling. "(Colorado Governor) John Hickenlooper knows that the (former New York City Mayor Michael) Bloomberg anti-gun laws are a failure."

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When it comes to protecting the rights of gun owners, Colorado received a "C" grade, based on a national review of state laws in 30 different weapon-related areas.
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Friday, 19 September 2014 11:43 AM
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