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Colorado 2nd Amendment group threatens to sue over bill draft ‘banning’ assault weapons leaked

DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Colorado 2nd Amendment advocacy group, is lying in wait for a bill draft to be introduced in the Colorado State Legislature. The bill, sponsored by three democrats, Rep. Elisabeth Epps, Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, and Sen. Rhonda Fields, was leaked to RMGO by an "unlikely ally," according to Executive Director Taylor Rhodes.

The bill draft would "prohibit a person from possessing, manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, offering to sell, or transferring ownership of an assault weapon. The bill draft defines an "assault weapon" as:

  • A semi-automatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has one or a number of the following characteristics:
  • A pistol grip
  • Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip
  • A folding stock that could enhance the ability to conceal the weapon
  • A flash suppressor
  • A functional grenade launcher
  • A shroud attached to the barrel
  • A threaded barrel
  • A semi-automatic rifle that has a fixed large-capacity magazine

However, Rhodes has concerns that the wish list for this bill extends far beyond assault weapons.

"This ban is going after not just the weapons that we think of when we think of an assault weapon like AR-15 or AK-47 or classifications like that, this ban goes after many shotguns and we think a vast majority of pistols," Rhodes said.

The draft's bill text does mention shotguns and pistols by name and used many of the caveats for characteristics outlined above for outlawing them. Assault weapons manufactured before 1899 and all "antique" guns are not included in the category of weapons outlawed.

A key piece of the bill draft is that those who currently own the guns listed will not have to relinquish them or give them up. If they cannot provide legal ownership, the person would have to give up to a police officer.

"These gun control laws that they're passing are not working, and it's time we take a different approach," Rhodes said. "I mean, let's talk about things that actually help, like eliminating gun-free zones, like passing bills, like constitutional carry that if you own a firearm, you should be allowed to carry it, not things that are making things more restrictive on the rights of law-abiding gun owners."

The bill draft, called the "Mass Shooting Prevention Act of 2023," names multiple Colorado Springs mass shootings as the reasoning behind the need for legislation. Those include the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, the 2021 Halloween Eve mass shooting, and most recently Club Q.

In testimony before the U.S. Congress, both a Club Q owner and survivor pleaded for enhanced gun control at the federal level.

"We are hopeful that we are able to give a complete perspective of what happened and why no one else should go through this," Club Q owner Matthew Haynes said. "No one else should be at the end of that kind of weapon and that sort of hate."

"I encourage you all to work together to save our children and adults and in turn save ourselves and the soul of our nation," Club Q bartender Michael Anderson said.

Rhodes told 13 Investigates they are preparing to sue if the draft bill becomes a reality in the coming days.

"We have already drafted a lawsuit based on the initial draft of the bill. Of course, we know what's going to change as it goes through the legislative process, and we will adjust that and we will file within the first two weeks of this becoming law," Rhodes said.

According to the bill draft, the violation for being in possession of an assault weapon would be a class 2 misdemeanor. If one is used in the commission of a crime, it would be a class 6 felony.

13 Investigates reached out to all three supposed prime sponsors for the draft bill and their media contacts. At the time of publication, we have not yet heard back.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.

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