Colorado is once again in the cross hairs of the anti-gun lobby and we are facing an assault weapons ban. This time the proposed law changes represent some very dangerous outcomes for our gun rights, far more than we’ve faced in the past. Colorado is ground zero for this fight in 2023.
I want to spend a few moments to give a short history of gun laws in Colorado. Guns For Everyone started in 2010 with the idea that we would build community around real action to expand gun rights in this state. There was talk about how we might get Constitutional Carry on the ballot when almost no other states had it. We were young and perhaps a little idealistic and we made really no progress at all towards our lofty goals.
In 2012 there were two major mass shootings that ended up helping to send Colorado in the other direction. After the Aurora movie theater shooting, Colorado started flirting with changing the laws around ‘Assault weapons’. As a largely Purple state, it was hard for anyone to believe anything would change. But in December 2012, the Newtown Shooting captured the attention of the country as well as Legislators in Colorado. This was the start of the momentum they needed to pass a mandatory background check law and a ‘magazine ban’. The fight over these two laws was intense. Eventually these laws passed but not without a price for lawmakers as two state legislators were successfully recalled thanks to some amazing work by local activists. No more gun control was passed at the state level after that.
Fast forward to 2018 as more mass shootings mounted, including in Colorado, Boulder County decided to gamble by passing their own assault weapons ban that they knew would be challenged in court. As predicted, in 2021 the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the law. A week later a King Soopers in Boulder was the site of yet another mass shooting. Legislators quickly put legislation up to change the state’s Preemption law, attacking concealed carry with an insidious shift of the law from serving the citizens to serving the local governments. This time there were no consequences for lawmakers.
The difference between 2012 and 2021 is that most gun owners in this state knew about the legislation in 2012. In 2021, almost no gun owners were even aware of Preemption or that it was under attack. The difference wasn’t the legislators, it was the citizens. If we take the same approach in 2023, we are guaranteed to lose this fight too.
How do we fight back? My first recommendation is to go support Rocky Mountain Gun Owners with a donation. Like Right Now. The next step is to seek out opportunities to show up at city council meetings, legislative sessions, write your congressman, write letters to the editor, speak to your friends and keep supporting the organizations that are putting in the fight. But do not sit back and post angry rants on social media that do nothing to make a difference. We need every single gun owner to take responsibility for this state. If we sit back and whine about how all the Californians ruined this state, we are guaranteeing that we will lose this fight. Get up, get involved, get ready for the fight. We can win.