Why the gun safety laws made in Colorado stayed in Colorado

DENVER – Almost unnoticed, something remarkable happened in Colorado over the last month: The common sense gun safety regulations passed in the wake of the Aurora and Newtown massacres survived despite attempts to overturn them. Once again, Colorado’s legislature has achieved what Congress could not. The gun safety laws made in Colorado have stayed in Colorado.

There’s a very simple reason why. A coalition of determined parents, students, families, safety-minded gun-owners, grassroots groups such as Colorado Ceasefire and survivors of gun violence including the massacres in Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown all made their voices heard at the state Capitol. This year, supporters of the important protections enacted in 2013 outnumbered the opponents. In the end, ten bills that either attempted to roll back regulations passed last year or to weaken Colorado’s existing laws were defeated.

Colorado Ceasefire Board Member Tom Mauser lost his son Daniel at Columbine and has literally been wearing Daniel’s shoes to lobby for gun safety legislation ever since. As he puts it, the reason Coloradans remained steadfast is simple.

“The public supports gun safety and didn’t want to see these laws overturned. So much of what they heard during last year’s hearings about these bills was flat wrong, and it was a good opportunity for us to tell the truth. We will continue to do that and let citizens know which leaders are fully dedicated to community safety.”

The genesis of the Colorado laws began shortly after the Aurora Theater massacre in the summer of 2012. Colorado Ceasefire, which has been active since 2000, began meeting with allies, including public safety organizations and grassroots groups in the fall of 2012 to hammer out a plank of legislative proposals. Our last meeting was on December 14, 2012, when we made our final decisions about legislative proposals while reeling from the news of the horrific mass murders in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Newtown shootings strengthened the resolve of advocates, victim families, and lawmakers here in Colorado to stop the bloodshed. The sponsor of the background check bill, Representative Rhonda Fields, lost her own son Javad Marshall Fields and his fiancée Vivian Wolfe to gun violence.

The hearings last year were contentious and laden with an unprecedented level of personal vitriol and threats. But so many committed lawmakers kept faith in the cause and persevered to enact stronger gun safety laws. Colorado – a state too-often stereotyped on guns– was leading the nation on a new path toward gun safety.

Unfortunately the opposition’s rancor didn’t end with the signing of the bills. It continued with the ugly recalls of two state senators who supported the measures and the forced resignation of a third.

Gun extremists approached the 2014 General Assembly in hopes of repealing most of what had been accomplished last year. (Read the list of anti-gun safety bills here.) But, even in an election year, legislators weren’t deterred by the threat of more recalls. The gun safety laws that were made in Colorado last year remain on the books thanks to advocates who showed up to every hearing and testified against every attempt to overturn the laws.

Colorado citizens, like Tom Mauser and members Ceasefire, said enough was enough. We’re proud of the fact that we came together and did in Colorado what Washington could not. Coloradans are safer because of these laws now and in the years to come.


  1. Perhaps we need to enact some laws regulating articles. Why should just anyone be allowed to publish their opinion? Background checks are in order. Why is it necessary to speak your mind right away? You should be required to wait 5 days to cool off first. We should limit the number of opinions that can be shared to one per month.

  2. I’m so happy to read this, but it’s only a start toward truly sensible, pervasive gun regulation.

    I moved to Colorado shortly before last December’s school shooting, which hardly made a blip on the news radar because “only” one teen died and “only” two were shot. It’s a sad thing that two teens shot in their own school doesn’t rate national media coverage, but after Aurora and Newtown, it just doesn’t generate the visceral outrage it should.

    I want to live in a place where guns are at least as regulated as cars, and I will never be able to wrap my head around the convoluted arguments which pose this as a violation of constitutional rights. It’s not.

  3. The new Colorado gun laws are here to stay. Thank you to Eileen McCarron and Colorado Ceasefire for all their hard work over the years. Coming up on the 15th anniversary of Columbine, we have much to be thankful for, and much more to work on.

  4. First off they do violate our right to trade guns between friends or people you meet online. Holmes did get the guns from a gun store and was a law biding nutcase. The kid in Connecticut got his moms guns . Neither obtained thru a private party gun trade with a friend to an insaine criminal. These laws fix nothing. If a nut wants to shoot a bunch of folks it’ll happen just hope you have less than fifteen rounds to protect yourself and you’re a damn good shot. This is just a couple bs laws that don’t accomplish anything but our rights to trade and sell withouth the government knowing roughly everyone who has guns in there house because all the background checks are on file and if they start confinscating or anything like that it’ll give a great starting point. Then you dummies will realize this is a violation on our privacy and other rights if they show up at your door knowing what you own . Youll think differently then . Obama and his henchmen are starting all of this and you zombie s are following suit without even knowing it. Neither of these instances in question were committed by a criminal / felon / BAD GUY just a couple nuts on missions with bad intensions. Sorry for your losses but background checks and fewer bullets don’t stop nuts just you having more bullets and better sense than they did does.

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