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Four States Pass Major Gun Control Reform

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Over the past week, Washington, Maryland, and Colorado have been joined by Oregon in passing some of the strictest gun control laws in recent history.

Last Friday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed four bills that will raise the age requirement for purchasing firearms and impose a waiting period for Coloradans to access their Second Amendment rights, among other restrictions.

Here’s the full slate per NRA-ILA:

  • House Bill 23-1219 delays Second Amendment rights by imposing a three-day waiting period before an individual may receive a firearm that they lawfully purchase, with limited exemptions. There is no evidence that waiting periods reduce violent crime. Instead, this simply denies someone the ability to buy a firearm for urgent self-defense.
  • Senate Bill 23-168 repeals limited liability protections for firearms manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers. This bill allows individuals to bring a civil suit against gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers, for the simple act of selling a firearm.
  • Senate Bill 23-169 denies Second Amendment rights to young adults aged 18 – 20 by prohibiting them from purchasing firearms.
  • Senate Bill 23-170 expands Colorado’s “red flag” gun confiscation scheme, allowing for the confiscation of firearms based on mere speculation and hearsay evidence, without due process of law. Such orders are designed to empower the government to confiscate Americans’ firearms and indefinitely delay Second Amendment rights.

Colorado’s effort follows just three days after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation to become the 10th state to ban so-called “assault weapons.”

Meanwhile, Maryland Governor Wes Moore has indicated that he will sign a gun control package similar to New York and New Jersey’s “sensitive places” ban, which prohibits the public from carrying guns in schools and other locations, despite uncertainty surrounding the laws’ constitutionality.

Yesterday, Oregon legislators passed House Bill 2005, which would raise the age requirement to purchase or transfer firearms, ban possession or sale of so-called “ghost guns,” and allow local jurisdictions to preempt state law and prohibit permit holders from carrying concealed in public buildings and adjacent grounds. The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.

“Instead of arresting, prosecuting and punishing criminals, Gov. Inslee is focusing on restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans who use these rifles for a variety of lawful purposes,”

Aoibheann Cline, Washington state director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action

As Democratic-controlled states ramp up their gun control efforts, legal challenges are already emerging to contest these new restrictions:

  • The NRA filed a lawsuit against Washington in federal district court, challenging the law’s constitutionality
  • In Colorado, the nonprofit gun-rights advocacy group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said it was going to challenge the age restriction within minutes of the bill becoming law.
  • Maryland Shall Issue said it would file a lawsuit challenging the “sensitive places” ban.
  • In Oregon, the dissent was internal, following impassioned debate among House members, with Rep. Mark Owens (R-Crane) stating, “The state will get sued, the state will lose and taxpayers will foot the bill,” referencing the legal challenges the state is already facing after the passage of Measure 114 last November

Expect the situation to remain dynamic as new gun control efforts face legal challenges in the post-Heller, post-Bruen legal landscape. Until SCOTUS weighs in on many of these issues, we won’t have a firm resolution.

As always, stay tuned for updates.

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