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Colorado’s New Age Limit on Gun Purchases Temporarily Blocked by Federal Judge

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by Chase Woodruff, Colorado Newsline
August 8, 2023

A new Colorado law prohibiting the sale of guns to anyone under the age of 21 was put on hold by a federal judge on Monday, the day it was scheduled to go into effect.

Judge Philip Brimmer of the U.S. District Court of Colorado issued a preliminary injunction against Senate Bill 23-169, enacted by Democratic majorities in the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis in April.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a right-wing gun-rights advocacy group, filed suit against Polis over the law in federal court earlier this year, alleging that it violates the 2nd Amendment.

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Brimmer, who was appointed to his District Court seat by former Republican President George W. Bush in 2008, wrote in his ruling that Colorado failed to demonstrate that the new law is “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulation.”

“The Court finds that the Individual Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits on the question of whether the Second Amendment applies to 18-to-20 year olds,” Brimmer wrote.

In a statement released last week, ahead of the law’s scheduled effective date on Monday, state Sen. Kyle Mullica, a Democrat from Thornton and one of the bill’s sponsors, said that SB-169 will “reduce gun violence and save lives all across our state.”

“Gun deaths in Colorado have been climbing higher and higher every year, and a disproportionate number of them are committed by younger Coloradans,” Mullica said. Experts say evidence suggests that minimum-age laws are especially effective in reducing youth suicides.

SB-169 was part of a package of four gun control bills enacted by Colorado Democrats this year, alongside measures to impose a three-day waiting period for gun purchases, expand the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law and make it easier for gun violence survivors to sue the gun industry.

Monday’s injunction will halt the law’s enforcement while the case is heard in federal court. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has also filed a challenge against the waiting-period law.

“Since the day this legislation was introduced, we knew it was unconstitutional,” Taylor Rhodes, director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said in a statement. “RMGO warned the bill sponsors this would quickly be struck down by a federal judge. Today, our crystal ball became a reality. But it doesn’t stop here. We won’t stop fighting until every single unconstitutional anti-gun law is struck down.”

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Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.