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Colorado Democrats Pass Bill To Ban Assault Weapons

The Colorado House of Representatives has endorsed a bill aimed at prohibiting the purchase, sale, and transfer of certain semiautomatic firearms, commonly known as assault weapons. 

House Bill 1292 received approval with a vote of 35-27 after extensive deliberation among legislators on Sunday.

Opposition to the measure mainly came from Republicans in the chamber, who argued that it would violate Second Amendment rights and overlook the root causes of gun violence. 

The GOP were joined by some Democrats from swing districts who also opposed the bill.

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Advocates of the legislation, primarily Democrats, portrayed it as a crucial step in addressing gun violence, especially in light of previous tragedies like the Columbine and Aurora mass shootings. 

They stressed the importance of legislative action to prevent further loss of life due to firearms.

The bill’s future now depends on the Colorado Senate, where its prospects are uncertain. 

Although Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, it is seen as more centrist than the House, making it unclear if there will be enough support for the bill to progress.

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Senate President Steve Fenberg expressed doubts about the bill’s chances, pointing out the challenges of implementing effective gun violence prevention policies at the state level. 

He emphasized the need for thorough discussions and comprehensive solutions to tackle the issue.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis, it is likely to face legal challenges from gun rights organizations, as similar legislation in the past has encountered opposition and legal disputes.

House Bill 1292 defines assault weapons broadly, covering semiautomatic firearms with specific features like detachable magazines, pistol grips, and muzzle brakes. 

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The bill also includes a list of specific makes and models classified as assault weapons.

Violating the proposed law would lead to civil penalties, such as fines, rather than criminal charges. 

Certain exemptions are included, such as provisions for military and law enforcement personnel and temporary transfers for repair or disposal.

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The consideration of this legislation in Colorado reflects broader national efforts to tackle gun violence through legislative means. 

Ten states and the District of Columbia already have some form of assault weapon ban.

While the bill’s approval in the House is significant, its journey through the Senate remains uncertain. 

Lawmakers continue to grapple with balancing public safety with upholding constitutional rights as they discuss the merits of the proposed law.

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