After a 2020 that felt more like the Twilight Zone than reality, there’s one good thing that happened: 2020 gun control legislation was DOA both in-state and federally. But that’s all about to change.
Last year Colorado Democrats had only introduced two gun control bills when the legislature took an emergency recess due to COVID-19. When they returned months later to finish up what they considered “necessary business”, many legislative ambitions were no longer considered “necessary”. This included a bill mandating locking up firearms and another bill making the reporting of lost and stolen guns mandatory. Although Democrats held the majority in both the State House and Senate, the margin in the senate was slim and they knew the passage wasn’t a slam dunk. After the November 3rd election, Democrats in the state picked up one additional state senate seat and the majority in the state house remained unchanged.
At the federal level in 2020, Republicans held a slight majority in the Senate while Democrats held a large majority in the House of Representatives. Multiple pieces of gun control legislation passed out of the house only to never see the light of day in the senate, ultimately never making it to then President Donald Trump’s desk. The November 3rd elections, and most notably the recent January 5th senate run-off in Georgia, changed the entire make up of congress, and the recent inauguration of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president sealed the deal. The senate now sits with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, making the tie breaker the new VP, Kamala Harris. In the house Republicans did pick up a number of seats but not enough to make up the large margin. Currently the party make-up in that chamber is 211 Republicans to 221 Democrats with three vacancies yet to be filled.
So what should we expect?
Colorado’s legislative session was set to begin on January 13, 2021 and run for exactly 120 days. Due to COVID-19, Democrat leadership altered this timeline. On January 13th, legislators were sworn in and routine business was done; for two more days a few bills were passed that related directly to COVID-19 and then they recessed until February 16, 2021. At that time they intend to run for the remainder of the 120 days or possibly less. We are already aware of three pieces of gun control legislation to be introduced as soon as they reconvene:
• Mandatory waiting period between firearm purchase and possession – possibly 5 days. (Rep. Tom Sullivan and Rep. Steven Woodward)
• Mandatory “safe storage” of firearms. (Rep. Kevin Mullica)
• Mandatory reporting to law enforcement of lost and stolen guns. (Rep. Tom Sullivan and Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis)
It’s not unlikely we’ll see more gun control out of Colorado gun grabbers this session – the question remains what and when.
I’ve written about the last two proposals and you can read that here. I’ll be breaking down the mandatory waiting period in the coming days so keep your eye out for that.
A list of contact information of all of Colorado’s legislators can be found here.
The 117th U.S. Congress gaveled into session earlier this month, and at least six gun control measures have been filed already with the House Judiciary Committee. Unlike the past couple years, these bills could land on the new president’s desk for signature if strategic pushback from gun owners doesn’t stop them.
Summaries of these bills are not yet available to the public at the time of this writing.
• H.R.30 – To increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking. (Rep. Bobby Rush, D-IL)
• H.R.121 – To provide for the hiring of 200 additional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and investigators to enforce gun laws. (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX-18)
• H.R.125 – To amend Title 18, United States Code, to provide for a 7-day waiting period before a semiautomatic firearm, a silencer, armor piercing ammunition, or a large capacity ammunition magazine may be transferred. (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX-18)
• H.R.127 – To provide for the licensing of firearm and ammunition possession and the registration of firearms, and to prohibit the possession of certain ammunition. (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX-18)
• H.R.130 – To require the safe storage of firearms and ammunition, and to require the investigation of reports of improper storage of firearms or ammunition. (Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX-18)
• H.R.167 – To prohibit the transfer of a firearm at a gun show by a person who is not a federally licensed firearms dealer. (Rep. Al Green D-TX-9)
Stay tuned for more information as the full text of these bills becomes available and as more bills are filed.
A list of Colorado’s federally elected representatives and senators can be found here.
And in the mean time, buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.