DENVER — A Denver mayoral candidate and current state legislator publicly said recently that a bill in the House that would require a 3-day waiting period will not stop gun violence.
“I think these bills are important to pass,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver about a series of new gun restriction bills Democrats are proposing. “But I don’t know that a waiting period would have changed the outcome of the young kid that went to East, and that just recently died.”
Herod’s remarks came on Craig Silverman’s Saturday morning podcast, where she discussed guns and other topics related to her run for Denver mayor (Herod’s gun-related remarks start at the 41:18 mark) . The bill she was referring to is House Bill 23-1219 “Waiting period to deliver a firearm.”
“These guns were not purchased legally, likely,” Herod said about the gun that killed 16-year-old Luis Garcia on Feb. 13 while he was sitting in his car. “And our young kids, talking to superintendent recently (sic), young kids are going to school armed, and they are unfortunately buying their guns in fields of rec centers or in the back of their schools.”
Under HB-1219, any firearms seller must wait to deliver a purchased firearm the longer of either: three days after the initiation of a required background check of a purchaser or when the purchase is approved following any background check.
If the law is passed, and a firearms seller disregards the law, the seller can be punished by a $500 fine for the first offense and $500 to $5,000 for all subsequent offenses.
Although she said it likely won’t stop gun deaths, Herod’s name is on the bill.
Her remarks echo the written testimony to the House of Representatives State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee by David Kopel, research director at the Independence Institute* and adjunct professor of advanced constitutional law at Denver University’s Sturm College of Law.
In that testimony, Kopel debunks a study cited by Democrats as proof this bill will curb violence.
“The lack of confidence that the drafters of HB23-1219 have in that study is shown by the choice not to even mention the study’s name, lest interested persons find the study and read what it actually says,” Kopel says. “The study, by business school professors Michael Luca et al., was published in the journal PNAS. The study finds that background checks have no statistically discernable effect on homicide or suicide, and may lead to statistically significant increases in crime and suicide.
“The study claims that handgun waiting periods reduce total gun homicide by 17 percent … (but) according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, only about 10 percent of crime guns in Colorado were acquired within three months of the crime. Thus, it is implausible that 17 percent of gun homicides are perpetrated with handguns purchased just a few days before a murder.”
Kopel also outlines the questionable constitutionality of the bill in his testimony.
The original bill had what is called a “safety clause” attached, which would mean that the bill is not able to be put to voters through the referendum process. However, Lynch’s amendment stripped the bill of that clause, meaning if it passes, any Colorado resident could challenge the bill and force it to go to the voters, so long as a petition is filed within 90 days after the final day of the 2023 legislative session. Those wishing to repeal the bill would need to gather 124,238 signatures from registered voters to force it to a vote on the 2024 ballot.
*Independence Institute is the publisher of Complete Colorado.
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