3 states pass major gun control reform packages

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(DENVER) — Governors in two states passed major gun control legislation this week and a third is poised to do the same soon.

On Friday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the legislative package that included a longer waiting period for firearm sales, and an increase in the minimum age to purchase a gun.

Colorado’s move came three days after Washington state became the 10th state in the nation to ban assault rifles and handguns after Gov. Jay Inslee signed a gun reform package.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore told reporters this week that he will sign a gun control package that includes prohibitions for civilian gun owners to bring their guns to schools and other sensitive locations.

While gun control advocates have praised the states for their moves, contending it will curb gun violence, some gun rights groups are already threatening court action against the Democratic leaders.

Washington

On Tuesday, Washington state banned the purchase of new assault weapons for residents as part of a three-bill gun control-related package.

The ban covers 61 automatic rifles and pistols, including the AR-15.

“Inaction against gun violence is unacceptable,” Inslee told reporters after signing the legislative package Tuesday.

Residents who already own the prohibited weapons are allowed to retain the weapons, according to the law.

Another law in the package mandated training for gun purchasers that included instructions on “proper storage, handling, use and transportation practice.”

The third bill “clarifies legal liabilities for gun dealers and manufacturers for knowingly creating, maintaining or contributing to a public nuisance by designing, selling or marketing,” to children or people who are prohibited from buying firearms.

Although the White House praised Inslee and the Democratic-led legislature for banning the weapons, gun rights groups criticized the legislation contending it was infringing on second amendment rights.

The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Washington challenging the ban.

“Instead of arresting, prosecuting and punishing criminals, Gov. Inslee is focusing on restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans who use these rifles for a variety of lawful purposes,” Aoibheann Cline, Washington state director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.

Colorado

Polis signed four gun control bills Friday that were passed by the Colorado legislature during this session.

“Coloradans deserve to be safe in our communities, in our schools, and our grocery stores, nightclubs. Everywhere in between, Coloradans shouldn’t have to fear the threat of robbery or gun violence,” the governor said at a news conference before signing the package.

The most major of the bills raised the age for legally purchasing firearms from 18 to 21. There are exceptions for law enforcement, military members and those with valid hunting licenses, according to the law’s language.

Another law now requires a three-day minimum waiting period for purchasing a firearm to allow for background checks.

A third bill strengthened the state’s red flag laws and allows teachers, medical care providers and mental health providers to petition the court to confiscate someone’s weapons if they pose a danger to themselves or others.

The fourth bill rolled back legal protections for gun manufacturers and made them more liable for civil suits related to gun violence.

Republican state leaders pushed back against the bills with filibusters, contending that they were too restrictive, but the Democratic-led house and state pushed them forward.

Minutes after those four bills were signed into law, the nonprofit gun rights advocacy group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said they were going to challenge the bills related to the legal age.

“This is simply bigoted politicians doing what bigoted politicians do: discriminating against an age,” Taylor Rhodes, the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, told the Associated Press.

Maryland

The Maryland state legislature passed several bills that were created following last year’s Supreme Court ruling over state concealed carry prohibitions.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen ruling ended a Maryland requirement for people to demonstrate a particular need to get a license to carry a concealed gun in public.

One of the bills, SB1 passed by the legislature removes the “good and substantial reason” from the law, which Democratic lawmakers said would make the prohibition of concealed carry legal under the new Supreme Court decision.

The bill would prohibit a person from wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun in an “area for children or vulnerable individuals,” such as schools, or in a “special purpose area,” such as a restaurant or other place that serves alcohol.

It also prohibits a civilian from bringing a firearm onto someone’s property without the permission of the property’s owner.

“We’re going through and checking on the constitutionality now, but, yes, I plan on signing them soon,” Gov. Moore told reporters Thursday.

Gun rights groups questioned the constitutionality of the bill and have threatened legal action.

Mark Pennak, president of Maryland Shall Issue, told the Associated Press his group plans on suing if the bill is signed.

“The court could not have been clearer, and what they have respectively done with the enactment of SB1 is truncate that right far beyond what the Supreme Court had permitted in Bruen,” he told the AP.

The Maryland legislature also passed a bill that raised the minimum age for purchasing a firearm from 18 to 21.

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