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Bill addressing guns in sensitive spaces clears Senate

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DENVER (KDVR) — A bill to ban carrying guns into sensitive spaces passed the Colorado Senate, but it underwent some significant changes first.

Lawmakers shortened the list of places guns would not be permitted to be knowingly carried to better align with two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Some argue the newer version of the bill is still volatile.

“We amended the bill where we reduced the number of places, we changed the title of the bill, we changed some of the penalties in the bill,” said state Sen. Chris Kolker, a prime sponsor of the measure.

To get Senate Bill 24-131 out of Colorado’s Senate Judiciary committee and onto the Senate floor, sponsors of the bill — originally titled “Prohibiting Carrying Firearms in Sensitive Spaces” — amended it.

They shortened the list of places where guns would be prohibited for most in Colorado to a handful of locations. There are some exceptions, including for members of law enforcement, the armed forces, the National Guard and security guards. A violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

“We aligned the bill with the Supreme Court rulings of Bruen and Heller. So now the five sensitive spaces are legislative assemblies, polling centers, schools, government buildings and courthouses,” said state Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, another prime sponsor.

Opponents: Limit on carrying guns in Colorado is unconstitutional

While more than a dozen places where guns would not be allowed, including parks and churches, are no longer included under the proposal, opponents argue the bill violates the Colorado constitution by including legislative assemblies like the state Capitol.

“131 as written ignores, turns its back on, and as I’ve said before — you can say in the most extreme language — does violence to the state constitution of Colorado,” Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen said.

Advocates working closely on the bill, like Giffords Law Center, said they are confident the bill’s latest version will withstand all legal challenges.

“Part of why we chose to narrow this bill in the way that we did is that the Supreme Court unequivocally stated that the locations that we have in this bill in this form are presumptively lawful, and to date, no law with these specific locations has been successfully challenged,” said Jessie Ojeda, a fellow at Giffords Law Center.

Advocates said they hope Colorado will add to the list of sensitive places in the future.
The bill now heads to the House, where it will repeat the process in that chamber.

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