Colorado has taken a significant step in gun control with the passage of a new law, SB23-169, that restricts firearm purchasing for many legal US adults. The law, signed by Democratic Governor Jared Polis, goes into effect, prohibiting individuals under 21 from buying firearms, except for active members of the US Military, peace officers, and those approved by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.
Critics, including the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), have taken issue with this law and have initiated lawsuits against both Governor Polis and the state of Colorado, arguing that the law is unconstitutional. They contend that if individuals are old enough to participate in elections and be drafted into the military, they should also have the right to acquire firearms for self-defense.
The law has ignited debates around Second Amendment rights and the balance between public safety and personal freedoms. Gun shop owners, like Kevin Day of DCF Guns, have expressed concerns that the law infringes on the right to self-defense for those under 21. Supporters of the legislation argue that it’s not an infringement on rights but rather a measure to save lives, as youth suicide rates and domestic violence incidents have increased.
Backers of the law maintain that it addresses pressing issues while not compromising constitutional rights. Democrat Majority House Leader Monica Duran has emphasized that the legislation aims to tackle societal challenges and improve public safety. However, gun shop owners like Paul Paradis believe that the law chips away at constitutional rights and are hopeful that the courts will ultimately deem it unconstitutional.
The new law in Colorado, similar to legislation passed in other states like New York and Florida, reflects an ongoing national conversation on gun control. As states grapple with finding a balance between individual rights and societal safety, these debates will continue to shape policy decisions and legal challenges.