Many Democrats insist that lifting gun-free zones would jeopardize public safety and only make it easier for dangerous individuals to acquire firearms. A group of Colorado Republican lawmakers want to lift gun-free zones in the state. Colorado Republicans remain committed to pushing through this dangerous legislation. GOP lawmakers propose to change the laws to allow concealed carry in schools, bars, and restaurants that serve alcohol, to allow concealed carry on campus buildings, and to eliminate restrictions on large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Following the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, Colorado passed numerous gun-control laws, making it more difficult to own a gun in the state and easier to convict felons of illegal gun ownership. Neither the Colorado House nor Senate has passed the legislation yet, but it is expected to be debated in the coming months.
Republican lawmakers in Colorado want the right to carry guns wherever and whenever they want. Their plan calls for dismantling state laws that limit gun use and possession, including the ban on large-capacity magazines and allowing concealed permit holders to carry guns inside schools. One measure that may be the most outrageous allows people to take guns into bars if their jurisdiction allows it. On a broader scale, they seek to overturn many of Colorado’s strict gun control measures enacted after James Holmes opened fire inside an Aurora movie theater, killing 12 and injuring 70. For example, under current law once you purchase a high capacity magazine, you must register it with police; otherwise it can become illegal storage of ammo. New legislation would eliminate these limits on legal gun ownership and allow gun owners to keep their larger ammo clips without registering them. A weapon of that type could be loaded up even faster than before, which seems like a terrible idea, given how lethally such weapons were used in mass shootings across the country over the last decade, including at Columbine High School.
Legislators should consider public safety when making decisions, and not just their own political agenda. The fact that these laws are being proposed in a state that was hit by a mass shooting shows how far some legislators will go to ensure they remain in office. Those proposals are just for show, designed to please Second Amendment hardliners and gun groups. They won’t enhance public safety in any way. Democrats should vote against them when they get a final vote in front of the full Senate.
We should not make it easier for people to obtain concealed carry permits, especially at bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. By removing background check laws, domestic abusers and violent criminals would have access to handguns. After we watched people lose their lives in an Aurora movie theater, we cannot reverse the progress made in Colorado. Instead of putting more power in the hands of dangerous people, we should focus on creating safer communities. As a result of these laws, crime rates may increase, school safety may be compromised, and everyone’s favorite bar or restaurant may be threatened.
The majority of Coloradans are in favor of stricter gun regulations — even two-thirds of Republicans support universal background checks for gun purchases. The blatant disregard by Republican lawmakers for their constituents’ opinions speaks volumes about Colorado’s public safety. Coloradans deserve better than that.