FILE - Hundreds of Southwest Airlines checked bags are piled together at baggage claim at Midway International Airport as Southwest continues to cancel thousands of flights across the country on Dec. 28, 2022, in Chicago. The Biden administration is working on new regulations that would require airlines to compensate passengers and cover their meals and hotel rooms if they are stranded for reasons within the airline's control. The White House said President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg would announce the start of the rulemaking process Monday May 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley, File)
FILE – Noah Reich, left, and David Maldonado, the Los Angeles co-founders of Classroom of Compassion, put up a memorial Nov. 22, 2022, with photographs of the five victims of a weekend mass shooting at a nearby gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. Colorado’s governor signed four gun control bills Friday, April 28, 2023, edging the once-purple state closer to liberal-leaning governments in California and New York just months after a shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, the latest in the state’s long history of notorious massacres. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE – Noah Reich, left, and David Maldonado, the Los Angeles co-founders of Classroom of Compassion, put up a memorial Nov. 22, 2022, with photographs of the five victims of a weekend mass shooting at a nearby gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. Colorado’s governor signed four gun control bills Friday, April 28, 2023, edging the once-purple state closer to liberal-leaning governments in California and New York just months after a shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, the latest in the state’s long history of notorious massacres. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

A round of applause for the determined and brave state lawmakers and Gov. Jared Polis for creating model gun control laws in Colorado, prompting what could be real ways to reduce gun violence.

Despite failing to ban the sale and ownership of assault-style weapons, state lawmakers made huge strides in signing into law meaningful reforms that have the certain potential to save lives.

The package of laws, however, accomplish a bevy of needed changes as well as implementing critical modifications to existing state gun laws.

Essentially, the measure expands the state’s existing so-called “Red Flag” laws, allowing courts to remove guns from people who are proved to be a danger to themselves or others. The new laws also make it illegal to sell a gun to anyone under 21. Another measure imposes a three-day waiting period for purchasing a firearm. And probably the most important change makes it easier for people harmed by gun
violence to sue firearm makers.

All of the changes are strategic advances meant to keep guns from minors and people who are emotionally ill-equipped to handle firearms.

Changes to the state’s red-flag law will allow people other than just police or family members to approach a court in an effort to have guns removed from
unstable gun owners.

The law now allows teachers, mental health workers district attorneys, doctors and other health care providers to initiate a court request to remove guns from someone.

Just as important, the bill provides impetus and money for the state health
department to create a public education campaign to help increase use of the law.

These important changes create a workaround from obstinate county sheriffs and law enforcement officials who have publicly said they won’t use or enforce the red-flag law because they see it as infringement of Second Amendment rights.

It’s been a cruel and irresponsible tact that almost certainly has cost lives across the state. Now, teachers, or medical professionals can get around errant deputy sheriffs, ensuring courts have an opportunity to remove guns before tragedy strikes.

In addition, new laws raise the age of buying a firearm in Colorado to 21. Given the potential destruction firearms can inflict, it’s only prudent to ensure adults decide gun access to minors and young adults.

Lawmakers failed, however, to extend the logic of requiring a higher age for gun purchase, possession and use.

There is no practical reason for anyone under the age of 21 to fire, possess or carry a civilian firearm. Rather than look the other way when children use firearms, state lawmakers should systematically find ways to prevent children embracing dangerous gun culture at an early age.

Related to that, earlier in the legislative session, Democrats imploded their own bill focusing on banning the sale of assault weapons. Doomed from the beginning, banning the sale — not possession — would have allowed tens of thousands of current assault-weapon-style rifles and guns to stay with Colorado owners. Worse yet, Colorado residents would have been able to  buy them in neighboring states.

Since Congress is incapable any more of addressing the problem of gun violence, it’s important states like Colorado step and engage with these important bans. 

Colorado should emulate the successes in Australia and New Zealand, which actually banned and then destroyed such weapons, helping ensure those nations enjoy some of the lowest gun violence rates in the world.

But among these meaningful Colorado successes, the most important change came from insistence from state Sen. Tom Sullivan, a critical legislative voice for gun control. Sullivan’s son, Alex Sullivan, was killed during the 2012 Aurora
theater shooting. Ever since, Sen. Sullivan has insisted that the biggest way to reduce gun violence would come from putting pressure on the gun industry. By making it easier for family of gun violence victims to sue gun-makers and others, Colorado residents will become armed with the power of the purse to check the influence and recklessness of gunmakers, much in the same way the tobacco industry was stricken. Big tobacco ceased to be that after endless lawsuits checked its influence in state and federal legislatures and with the public.

While some of these changes won’t offer results immediately, measures like changes to the red flag law and prohibiting young adults from buying guns could save lives as soon as the new laws take effect. How long that will be is in question since local gun-rights activist organizations have already filed lawsuits in an effort to stymie the changes.

But Sullivan is right, the biggest influence will come in the next few years as
lawsuits against gunmakers build, and judgements against gunmakers, pull cash from the companies, and effectively make changes in how guns are sold and marketed. 

Pushing these bills into law wasn’t without risk for lawmakers. Several years ago, state lawmakers supporting similar gun bills were removed from office by a leveraged minority of far-right voters. While it appears there won’t be a repeat of those gun-owner theatrics, the political risk for this kind of legislation was real, and hasn’t passed.

Colorado residents should welcome these iconic changes, and begin now to push for the ban of assault-style weapons across the state, next year.

Join the Conversation


  1. Years ago on the sitcom “All in the Family”, Archie Bunker (by the way in real life he was a huge liberal), did a tv editorial on how to stop airplane hijackings. Again folks it’s a sitcom. It did not convey Carroll O’Connor’s real life opinions.

    He said something to the effect
    of flight attendants issuing hand guns to all passengers boarding the plane. Then any attempted hijacking would be met by armed passengers. He said when the plane would arrive at its planned destination, then the flight attendants would collect the guns.

    As silly as this sounds, it’s pretty much in line with what the NRA wants, except the NRA would push for the passengers keeping the guns.

  2. These new laws are worthless. They only further restrict law abiding citizens in protect themselves. The Editorial Board even acknowledges this by its hedge in stating, “Some of these changes won’t offer results immediately.” I challenge the Editorial Board to follow up in a year or so to demonstrate how effective these new laws were on our society. They won’t follow up. ALSO, another judicial district has already ruled that the age restriction bill is unconstitutuonal.

    Rod Bockenfeld
    State Representative
    HD # 56 (R)
    Eastern Arapahoe County

    1. Not one of these sensible laws restricts ‘law abiding citizens in (sic) protecting themselves.’ As a legislator with your interest in facts and data, please tell us the statistics of gun owners successfully thwarting home invasions compared to family members killed or wounded by the gun(s) lawfully in the home. I’m assuming your fear is about home invasions – extremely rare occurrences – but, if not, what gun-related protection scenarios are you trying to defend? And what are the data on the frequency and outcomes of those?

      How can you continue to defend the indefensible? How many firearm deaths and maimings will be enough for you? Disgusting that you wear an assault weapon jewelry piece as a lapel pin. What is the total of donations to you from the RMGO, NRA, and other front organizations for America’s merchants of death?

      1. -0- to your last question. I don’t wear an assault weapon lapel pin either. I guess the rising crime rate and a desire to have a comfort in being able defend yourself and family is meaningless. I swore to uphold the constitution of the united states, I don’t know how my Democratic Colleagues could vote for the under 21 law knowing it was already ruled upon as being unconstitutional. The only explanation is that they don’t believe in the constitution.

        1. Please identify the specific language in the Constitution that references allowing minors to purchase weapons. Also, you did not answer my question of how many firearm deaths and maimings will be enough for you.

      2. Same or similar statements in 1941, when FDR was using Lend Lease to assist Europe and Africa, to fight Adolph (NAZI). Even after our country was attacked by Japan, a Democrat actually voted against “declaring War against Japan, and Nazi Countries. German General, after war, stated “Hitler and Germany, completely under thought we would take longer to arm, train, and be able to fight.

        But we were able to draft, have minimum period of Basic Training, load ship with young men, who had gun handling training fired at targets off ship, landed in short time and went into the trenches, and parachuted in and over whelmed the German, Italian and Japanese military, being supplied by USA manufacturing, and using Merchant Marines to transport war materials from factories, to ports, and also onto ships, manned with Merchant Marines.

        And we also developed aircraft, to augment ships, to move large objects like Heavy Equipment to rebuild or replace destroyed rail systems, and abililty to suply needed ammo, guns, where needed.

        USA young men were hunters, fishermen, and knew woods, land, where animals and birds were, so could adapt to men with weapons trying to kill them. (Born in 1929), I lived through that experience with parents and relatives, and taught by father at age 13, to shoot, safely. Bought my first rifle in WVa,. on trip with family at age 16, 8 MM Radom Rifle (similar to 30.06, Rifle, made in 1935 by Belgium, for $8.00 and $1.00 for box of 20 bullets. Never shot at anyone, or shot at, but served 26 years, firing EXPERT, hunted and fished. Did not join NRA, until I retired in 1976, but showed a weapon on 4 occasions, when camping, by those, who departed without harming my family or me. And also inherited many guns from relatives, which I have passed on to elder son, in another state. But I am not defenseless now, with another son and wife, living and caring for me at 94 (in Nov), Wife 88 in April. I supported NRA, even after my hunting and fishing days ended. And it is the individuals in NRA that make it great. Not the Organization itself. I believe in them to speak for me.

        1. Thank you for your service. Respectfully, today’s NRA is not the same as the one you joined in 1976.

      3. Gene loves it when people die from alcohol-related causes, which are empirically higher.

  3. There is a practical reason for those under 21 to possess and use firearms, its called hunting, an activity which infuses millions upon millions into teh statde and local economies and which helps feed some families. Whether that negates your argument I will not opine. What it does do is point out your hyperbole, and when one resorts to hyoperbole one has nearly ceded the argument.

    As for restricting the rights of adults to exercise a constitutional right, our society has gone back and forth. I am not for it, but the age of majority is up for debate. I just hope the Sentinel is consistent. If they can’t be trusted with a gun they shjould not be trusted with the vote.

    I also find it ridiculous to include teachers in those who can petition the courts. Teachers are our least educaterd professionals. They have no training in risk assessment or the law or in mental health conditions. Why let these B.A.’s have such power. What is the objective justification?

    1. The new law does not prevent people under 21 years of age from hunting. What data are you using to opine that teachers are the ‘least educaterd (sic) professionals’? Most teachers I know have Masters or higher degrees.

      By the way, you may not know, but petitioning the court for an ERPO does not guarantee that one will be issued.

        1. Our constitutional rights are not absolute, correct? You can freely travel in the US, but not in a unlicensed car at 120 miles an hour while drunk.

    2. “There is no practical reason for anyone under the age of 21 to fire, possess or carry a civilian firearm.” they say? Clearly this Editorial Board is a pack of city slickers. Back where I grew up it was common for guns to be used by teenagers, to the point where they were excused from class on the first day of hunting season, to help put meat on the family table.

    3. Teachers are often the adult who sees a child displaying troubling behavior that could lead to gun violence against themselves or others. It is sensible for them to act, just like teachers are required by law to report any suspected case of abuse or neglect.

  4. They’ve played this song a lot over the last 23 years, and it hasn’t gotten any more accurate with age.

  5. See you are reviewing my comment, as you always do. Then you refuse to let the posting go on. But you are reason I sent a very large donation to President Trump, by computer to computer, so none of the Washington spies got their fingers on it. I also donated to others, but not in Colorado and Arapahoe County, since I did not want my money to go to Bit coins, or congressional enrichment, to buy more mansions. Post that if you dare.

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