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Colorado House committee OKs assault weapons ban bill

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Derek Draplin

(The Center Square) – Legislation to ban the sale or purchase of so-called assault weapons in Colorado was approved by a House committee early Wednesday following 14 hours of testimony.

The House Judiciary Committee passed ​​House Bill 24-1292 in a 7-3 vote, advancing the measure to Committee of the Whole. 

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The bill defines assault weapons as .50 caliber rifles, semi-automatic rifles and pistols with detachable magazines (or can be modified to include one), and semi-automatic rifles or pistols with fixed, large-capacity magazines. The detailed list of models includes AKs, ARs and Thompsons.

A similar bill, also sponsored by Representative Elisabeth Epps, D-Denver, failed to make it past the House Judiciary Committee last session.

“What is unknown is whether or not this is the year when we as a body will, without reservation, choose to prioritize saving lives over saving seats and ban assault weapons in Colorado,” Epps told the committee on Tuesday. “I certainly hope so.”

David Kopel, research director at the Independence Institute and a Second Amendment scholar, submitted written testimony to the committee arguing that the bill is unconstitutional. 

“HB24-1292 is self-refuting. Its stated purpose is to prevent ‘ease of use,’ making firearms use difficult for non-experts,” he wrote. “The stated purpose is obviously unconstitutional and disdainful of lawful self-defense.” 

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a pro-gun advocacy group that organized a rally at the Capitol on Tuesday, has pledged to sue if the bill becomes law.