By Jorja Whyte
Gun control is perhaps one of the most widely debated topics throughout the state, nation, and even the world. In a society, where gun violence and mass shootings are at an all time high, government officials across the state have proposed controversial solutions to put a stop to the rising death tolls in the nation. These include solutions such as gun control of which there is a wide range of controversy and complexity associated with each degree proposed.
The participants of Youth In Government have not ignored issues usually addressed by experienced legislatures and gun control is no exception. Two bills were submitted to undergo review by house committee tackling the issue, one with a vague concept of, “Imposing substantial gun restrictions,” the other a much more concise bill to, “enact red flag gun control in Colorado.” Both were either killed in committee or deemed unconstitutional by the judicial branch. Regardless, they are worth discussing as they both bring up many ethical, moral, and safety implications, as well as where the youth of today comes into play when influencing policies made concerning this issue.
One of the most popular gun control policies being introduced around the nation is known as red flag gun control. Five states have adopted some form of this bill, allowing for, “guns to be seized before someone can commit violence,” Colorado is not one of those states. However, this has been an option considered by both state and federal legislation. This form of policy allows for family members or law enforcement to report individuals who may be a risk to themselves or others. Which then gives the ability to seize guns owned by the individuals for a short period of time, usually consisting of 2-3 weeks. During this period of time a judge reviews the case and determines whether or not the individuals guns should be returned or if the person in question should be restricted from owning or buying new guns for up to a year.
Still, this particular form of gun control comes with many issues including those consistently associated and brought up in any kind of debate about gun control. The second amendment of the Colorado and National constitution protects citizens’ “right to keep and bear arms.” This bill, depending on how you interpret it, could be in violation of the second amendment and the National Constitution. Additionally, the entire ideals of gun control may be in question here. A study conducted from 1980 to 2009 found that, “assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level” and “states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murders.” This bill has further complications as it opens up room for wrongful convictions based on race, societal class, and previous mental health status. Gun control regulation has a stark history of introducing legislation directly targeting people of color and those with continual societal disadvantages. Including the previous mental illness, exercising their second amendment rights this piece bill would create further discrimination and violated rights which is something that our state can not afford.