Protesters Push for Colorado Governor to Sign Executive Order Banning All Guns, Impose Mandatory Buyback

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
June 5, 2023Politicsshare
Protesters Push for Colorado Governor to Sign Executive Order Banning All Guns, Impose Mandatory Buyback
A rainbow forms above the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, Colo., on June 24, 2022. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

A group of gun control activists has gathered at the Colorado state capitol in Denver in a long-shot bid to convince Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to ban all guns in the state for at least 30 days.

The group, known as Here 4 The Kids, organized an all-day sit-in with the stated goal of getting Polis to adopt an executive order they’d already drafted for him. The executive order (pdf) would have Polis issue a disaster declaration over gun violence and “ban the use, loading, possession or carrying of all firearms in Colorado, including but not limited to firearms for personal protection, hunting, law enforcement or any otherwise lawful purpose for as long as this Executive Order shall remain in effect.”

Along with banning the possession of firearms, the draft executive order also calls for a “comprehensive, mandatory buyback program” and prohibits firearms from being moved to neighboring states except for the purpose of their destruction. Given that the draft executive order also bans firearms for law enforcement officers, the order directs that the gun buyback program will be administered “at minimum by each sheriff’s office in an unarmed capacity but may include other unarmed government offices and entities as appropriate and necessary.” The order states that the Colorado National Guard may also assist with the gun buyback program in a similarly unarmed capacity.

The order also calls for establishing a “Governor’s Expert Gun Violence Disaster Response Committee” which will oversee the gun buyback program and come up with penalties for the continued possession, transport, or use of a firearm, which “may include confiscation of real property or other assets, or criminal citations and fees and fines.”

The executive order is written to last for 30 days unless Polis decides to extend it further.

NTD News reached out to Here 4 The Kids for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Activist Saira Rao, a former Democratic congressional candidate who helped organize the Here 4 The Kids sit-in, told Colorado Public Radio she doesn’t believe the group’s proposed executive order would survive a legal challenge and would likely require action through the constitutional amendment process.

“This obviously flies in the face of the Constitution—of the Second Amendment,” she said. “We would like to see the 28th Amendment repealing the Second Amendment. So yes, we are not morons. We are very well aware that this is unconstitutional, and this is how change happens.”

Polis’s Gun Control Stance

Polis rejected the proposed executive order in a statement shared by his office on Monday.

“These individuals’ calls to improve safety and prevent gun violence through their specific requests for an executive order banning all guns would simply be unconstitutional,” Polis’ office said.

The governor’s office said they had met with the gun control protest organizers prior to their sit-in and expressed their concerns about the legal viability of what they were asking of him.

“The Governor takes the weighty responsibility of executive action and the trust Coloradans placed in him to govern responsibly seriously, and will not issue an unconstitutional order that will be struck down in court simply to make a public relations statement,” the governor’s office said.

The governor’s office also insisted he supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms while also looking for ways to reduce gun violence.

Polis has signed a number of gun control measures into law this legislative session, including a bill to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm in the state from 18 to 21 years old, a bill imposing an additional three-day waiting period on gun purchases, and a bill expanding the state’s existing extreme risk protective order (ERPO). The ERPO program—commonly referred to as a “red flag law”—allows family members, law enforcement officers, licensed medical care providers, licensed mental health care providers, licensed educators, and district attorneys to request that a person’s firearms be temporarily confiscated if they are suspected of posing a threat of harm to themselves or others.

Polis signed another bill into law in April that allows the Colorado Attorney General or victims of gun violence to sue a member of the firearm industry. Since 2005, the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act has broadly protected gun industry members from lawsuits stemming from the criminal misuse of firearms. Colorado is now among a growing list of states that are looking to open gun industry members up to lawsuits over gun violence.

Last week, Polis signed another bill into law that regulates home-assembled and 3D-printed firearms. The bill prohibits people from knowingly selling, transporting, transferring or possessing an unfinished firearm frame or receiver, unless it has been imprinted with a serial number. Under the law, only a federal firearms licensee is allowed to handle the process for imprinting serial numbers on firearm frames or receivers.

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