DENVER – The bill from a state Senate Democrat aimed at banning bump stocks in Colorado won’t get its first committee hearing until March 19 after it was pushed back from its original first hearing, which had been set for Monday.
The postponement of Senate Bill 51, which is sponsored by El Paso County Democratic Sen. Michael Merrifield, came days after House Democrats defeated three Republican gun measures in committee meetings that lasted several hours and drew massive crowds in opposition.
Monday’s hearing was expected to garner similar attention, but the hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee was pushed to March 19 at the last minute, Senate Democrats said.
Merrifield’s measure would include bump stocks in the state definition of a “dangerous weapon” and make possessing one a class 5 felony for the first offense, then a class 4 felony for each following offense.
If approved, Merrifield’s proposal would also apply the same class of penalties to people who sold bump stocks to another person in Colorado.
Republicans hold a 3-2 majority in the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. Even if Merrifield’s proposal were to make it past the committee, Senate President Kevin Grantham told The Denver Post that the proposal wouldn’t “save a single soul” and infringed on people’s Second Amendment rights – meaning it faces great uncertainty in the Republican-controlled Senate.
President Trump talked about bump stocks again Monday at a meeting with the nation’s governors. He signed a memo last week ordering U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.”
“Bump stocks, we’re writing that out, I’m writing that out myself,” Trump told the governors Monday. “I don’t care if Congress does it or not; I’m writing it out myself, OK? You put it into the machine gun category…it becomes, essentially, a machine gun…it’s going to be very hard to get them.”
Denver’s bump stock ban went into effect in recent days.
The city already had a ban on so-called assault weapons, which include semi-automatic rifles with magazine capacities of 21+ rounds and semi-auto shotguns with either a folding stock or six-round magazine capacity.
But the latest revision to the city’s municipal code makes it “illegal to sell, carry, store, or otherwise possess” a bump stock in Denver. Police are asking any owners to turn their bump stocks in at police stations. Not doing so could lead to fines between $100 and $999 or between 10 and 180 days in jail.