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Gun rights group fires off challenges against Colorado laws limiting firearm ownership

The Colorado legislature has been swift to respond to high profile mass shootings with gun legislation.

DENVER (CN) — When he signed four laws addressing gun violence on Friday, Democratic Governor Jared Polis claimed he was putting Colorado among the top ten safest states in the nation.

But a gun rights group quickly fired off two federal lawsuits challenging the Centennial State's new gun ownership age restriction and waiting period laws.

In the lawsuits, grassroots organization Rocky Mountain Gun Owners claim the new laws violate members’ Second Amendment right to bear arms. Starting in August, Senate Bill 23-169, titled "Increasing Minimum Age To Purchase Firearms," raises the legal age to own a gun to 21. Set to begin Oct. 1, House Bill 23-1219, or "Waiting Period to Deliver a Firearm," requires firearms to be delivered three days after a purchaser passes their background check.

“They will not be happy until all law-abiding gun owners are disarmed, and only the criminals have guns,” said Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, in a statement. “When a single mother is being harassed by a violent, abusive former partner, the Democrats at the Capitol think it is fine to make her wait at least three days to defend herself and her baby. And if she is twenty, these gun control fanatics insist she is completely defenseless.”

The nonprofit group advertises itself as accepting “no compromise” on gun control.

Both lawsuits cite the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which cautioned the government against restricting the right to bear arms.

“When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct," wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion. "The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation."

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners claim there is no historical tradition of limiting guns to 21-year-olds or making Americans wait to obtain them.

In challenging the age restriction, named plaintiff Tate Mosgrove, who is younger than 21 years of age, said he wishes to own a gun for self defense. In challenging the waiting period, named plaintiff Alicia Garcia said she would purchase a gun for self defense but, “desires to do so without arbitrary, unnecessary, burdensome and useless delays.”

“HB23-1219’s prohibitions arbitrarily delay the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase arms even if they immediately pass all required background checks and even if they desire to purchase an arm for the purpose of self-defense in the home, where Second Amendment protections are at their zenith,” the complaint states.

The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners are represented by attorney Barry Arrington, who practices out of Wheat Ridge.

Governor Polis’ office did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The Gun Violence Archive has tracked 13,628 gun violence deaths since the start of the year, including 7,788 suicides and 16 mass murders.

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Categories / Civil Rights, Law

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