Guns and Gear

Colorado legislature to consider liability for assault weapon owners, sellers and makers

When asked if the bill could encourage political or racial profiling, he said only that sellers can “choose or not choose to sell their gun to anyone.”

He said the bill wasn’t meant as a de facto ban on assault rifles, but later said that he “would be OK” with the possibility that fewer gun store owners would take the risk of selling them.

The threshold for liability extended to manufacturers under the bill is even murkier, with Morse simply repeating that gun makers must exercise care to ship their weapons to retailers who display high standards for selling them to the public.

Morse said the bill wouldn’t violate the federal Commerce in Arms Act, which generally protects the gun industry from liability if their products are used in crimes. Such immunity, however, only applies to manufacturers and sellers who follow state law, as this bill will be if it passes.

Morse also said it would pass a Second Amendment test, citing a Supreme Court ruling that assault rifles are more susceptible to stringent regulations — including bans — than other firearms.

“The reality is, these folks don’t have a Second Amendment right to buy these guns,” he said. “I’m not going there with this bill. I’m granting them the right, if you will, as long as they take 100 percent responsibility, both to sell it, to buy it, to possess it, to shoot it, the whole kit and caboodle.

“You guys have to take this responsibility along with this so-called right.”

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