Colorado Legislature to Consider Boulder-Related Gun Reforms
The Boulder King Soopers mass shooting, which took the lives of ten innocent people on March 22nd, has generated a great desire for our state legislature to act. Reportedly, this week three bills will be introduced that will address both the Boulder shooting and gun violence in general. Expected proposals are:
· Repeal of the preemption law.
In 2003, the last high-water mark year of the gun lobby at the Colorado legislature, a law was enacted to prohibit cities and counties enacting laws regulating the transfer of firearms. Denver sued and won a partial exemption in 2006. In 2018 Boulder, hoping to ride on Denver’s coattails, enacted an assault weapons ban, which was overturned by a Boulder district judge 10 days before the Boulder mass shooting.
· Changes to the Background Check Law:
1) Prohibit those convicted of certain violent misdemeanor offenses in the last 5 years from purchasing firearms. Persons who have demonstrated a propensity for violence are more likely to escalate their level of violence. A number of other sates have such prohibitions, and California’s statute has contributed to a marked decrease in firearms homicides. The Boulder shooter had a misdemeanor assault conviction while in high school. 2) Close the Charleston Loophole, i.e., ensure that no firearm is transferred until a background check is complete and approval is granted.
· Funding for Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) education and Violence Intervention Programs.
The family of the alleged Boulder shooter had observed his disturbing behavior, and in one case removed his guns, but did not file an ERPO to disarm him. Additionally, federal funds should be available to support intervention programs for those who are victims or are potential perpetrators of community violence. Grants will be focused on evidence-based programs with demonstrated effectiveness.