Gov. Jared Polis signed 4 gun measures into legislation Friday in what’s doubtless essentially the most consequential tightening of gun laws in Colorado historical past. 

The payments broaden the state’s crimson flag legislation, increase the minimal age to buy all weapons to 21, impose a three-day ready interval on firearm purchases and make it simpler for individuals to sue the gun {industry}.

“Coloradans need to be protected in our communities, in our faculties, our grocery shops, night time golf equipment and in all places in between,” Polis mentioned earlier than signing the payments.

Nonetheless pending within the legislature, and anticipated to move quickly, is a fifth invoice that may ban the creation and sale of unserialized firearms, also referred to as “ghost weapons.” 

Right here’s what every of the payments signed into legislation Friday would do: 

The Unaffiliated is our twice-weekly publication peeling again the curtain on Colorado politics and coverage.

Every version is full of unique information, evaluation and behind-the-scenes protection you received’t discover anyplace else. Subscribe at this time to see what all the excitement is about.

Crimson flag legislation enlargement

Colorado’s crimson flag legislation, which permits judges to order the non permanent seizure of weapons from individuals deemed a big threat to themselves or others, was created in 2019. However solely members of the family and legislation enforcement have been capable of petition a decide to situation a seizure order.

Underneath Senate Invoice 170, one of many 4 payments signed by Polis on Friday, the checklist of people that can petition a decide to order a gun seizure now consists of well being care suppliers, psychological well being suppliers, district attorneys and lecturers. The invoice additionally requires the Colorado Division of Public Well being and Setting to create an schooling marketing campaign across the crimson flag legislation.

“If I hear another time, ‘It’s not the gun, it’s the individual’ however then you definitely don’t assist this legislation, then perhaps you don’t actually imply it,” mentioned Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver, a major sponsor of the invoice. “As a result of that’s what we’re addressing right here.”

Lastly, the invoice creates a hotline run by the Colorado Division of Public Security to assist the general public get details about tips on how to request gun seizures and to attach individuals with related assets.

Gov. Jared Polis indicators Senate Invoice 170 into legislation on April 28, 2023, which expands Colorado’s crimson flag legislation, permitting judges to order the non permanent seizure of weapons from individuals deemed a big threat to themselves or others, was created in 2019. Beforehand, solely members of the family and legislation enforcement may petition a decide to situation a seizure order. (Olivia Solar, The Colorado Solar through Report for America)

The measure is geared toward growing use of the crimson flag legislation, which hasn’t been used a lot in its first few years in comparison with different states with comparable legal guidelines, based on a Colorado Public Radio evaluation. 

The invoice’s different prime sponsors have been all Democrats, together with Sen. Tom Sullivan, Senate President Steve Fenberg and Rep. Mike Weissman.

Requiring that folks be 21 to buy a gun

Senate Invoice 169 raises the minimal age to buy any firearm in Colorado to 21. The brand new legislation additionally makes it unlawful to promote any gun to somebody youthful than 21. 

“It’s simply the reality that younger persons are much more prone to commit gun violence than their older counterparts,” mentioned Sen. Jessie Danielson, a Wheat Ridge Democrat and prime sponsor of the invoice.

It was already unlawful for individuals underneath 21 to buy handguns. 

The brand new legislation makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor to purchase a gun in case you are youthful than 21 or for a non-public supplier to promote a firearm to somebody who’s youthful than 21. Licensed sellers who promote to somebody youthful than 21 could possibly be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

The legislation has exceptions for members of the navy and legislation enforcement.

The measure initially additionally would have banned possession of firearms for these underneath 21. That provision was eliminated in March. The invoice additionally initially would have allowed individuals underneath 21 with a searching license to buy some firearms, however that aspect was additionally dropped. 

The invoice’s different prime sponsors have been all Democrats: Sen. Kyle Mullica, Rep. Monica Duran and Rep. Eliza Hamrick. 

Three-day ready interval

Home Invoice 1219 requires that folks wait three days after buying a gun earlier than they’ll take possession of the weapon. The measure is geared toward stopping heat-of-the-moment suicides and homicides. 

If a background test takes longer than three days, purchasers must proceed ready to entry their weapon till the test is full. Violations are punishable by a positive of $500 for the primary offense and improve to $5,000 for subsequent offenses. 

The laws additionally permits native governments to impose longer ready intervals for gun purchases. 

9 states and the District of Columbia have already got ready intervals for gun purchases, based on Giffords, a bunch that pushes for more durable firearm laws, although the insurance policies differ from state to state. 

Republicans within the legislature tried to amend the invoice to exempt victims of assault and tried murder from the ready interval, however these proposed modifications have been rejected. There are exceptions for vintage firearms and for navy members quickly being deployed who’re promoting a firearm to a member of the family. 

The invoice’s prime sponsors have been Democrats Rep. Meg Froelich, Rep. Judy Amabile, Sen. Tom Sullivan and Sen. Chris Hansen. 

“Our ready intervals invoice places distance between emotional misery and entry to a firearm,” Froelich mentioned through the invoice signing occasion.

Making it simpler to sue the gun {industry}

Senate Invoice 168 rolled again the state’s further protections for gun and ammunition producers and sellers in opposition to lawsuits. 

A 2000 Colorado legislation — handed a few 12 months after the Columbine Excessive Faculty bloodbath — granted the firearm {industry} a few of the hardest civil authorized protections within the nation. It required plaintiffs to pay defendants’ attorneys’ charges in all dismissed instances, and solely allowed individuals to convey product legal responsibility lawsuits in opposition to gun makers, sellers and importers. 

Gov. Jared Polis indicators Senate Invoice 168 alongside Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, whose 24-year-old daughter, Jessica, was killed within the 2012 Aurora theater capturing. The couple incurred tons of of 1000’s in debt after suing 4 companies patronized by the gunman. The invoice rolls again Colorado’s further protections for gun and ammunition sellers in opposition to lawsuits. (Olivia Solar, The Colorado Solar through Report for America)

Senate Invoice 168 eliminates the requirement that plaintiffs routinely pay the authorized charges of gun-industry defendants when instances are dismissed, and it makes the {industry} vulnerable to lawsuits underneath the Colorado Client Safety Act, the catchall coverage governing enterprise within the state. 

“We lastly, after 23 years of ready, can open up Colorado courtrooms to gun violence victims and survivors in search of justice,” mentioned Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, a Boulder County Democrat and a major sponsor of the invoice.

The invoice initially included a selected code of conduct for gun producers and sellers.The code would have required the gun making {industry} to “take affordable precautions” to make sure its merchandise aren’t offered to a retailer that “fails to ascertain and implement affordable controls.” It additionally would have required that gun makers don’t create or market merchandise that may be simply modified into one thing unlawful or one thing that’s focused towards minors or people who find themselves barred from buying a gun. 

The governor’s workplace requested for that a part of the invoice to be eliminated, and it was taken out at their behest.

The invoice’s different prime sponsors have been all Democrats: Sen. Chris Kolker, Rep. Javier Mabrey and Rep. Jennifer Parenti. 

GOP opposition

The payments handed largely alongside occasion strains in each the Home and Senate, with some Democrats becoming a member of Republicans in voting in opposition to the measures. Republicans argued for hours in opposition to every of the payments, calling the laws unconstitutional and examples of presidency overreach.

Rocky Mountain Gun House owners, a hard-line gun rights group, filed lawsuits Friday difficult the legal guidelines imposing a ready interval on gun purchases and elevating minimal age to buy weapons to 21.

“We’re speaking about constitutional freedoms right here, we’re speaking about issues which might be assured by God and enshrined by our authorities,” mentioned Taylor Rhodes, government director of the group. “We consider we now have two slam dunk lawsuits that we’ll simply win.”