UNITED STATES NEWS

Gun rights groups sue Colorado over the state’s ban on ‘ghost guns,’ which lack serial numbers

Jan 2, 2024, 2:36 PM

DENVER (AP) — Gun rights groups have filed a federal lawsuit challenging Colorado’s ban on so-called ghost guns — firearms without serial numbers assembled at home or 3D printed that are difficult for law enforcement to trace and allow people to evade background checks.

The litigation filed Monday is the latest of several Second Amendment lawsuits aimed at a slew of gun control regulations passed by Colorado’s majority Democratic legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis last year.

The ban on ghost guns took effect Monday and follows a dramatic rise in their reported use in crimes, jumping by 1,000% between 2017 and 2021, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The law bars anyone in Colorado except licensed firearm manufacturers from creating gun frames and receivers, which house internal components. It also prohibits the transport and possession of frames and receivers that don’t have serial numbers.

The lawsuit filed by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights alleges that the ban infringes on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

“This law is an outright assault on the constitutional rights of peaceable Coloradans. It’s not just an overreach; it’s a direct defiance to our Second Amendment freedoms,” said Taylor Rhodes, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, in a statement.

Rhodes said the Supreme Court’s ruling last year, which is considered an expansion of gun rights, reinforces their case in Colorado, pointing to a long history in America of citizens being their own gunsmiths.

“The Supreme Court made it clear that any law infringing on the right to bear arms must align with the historical understanding of the Second Amendment,” said Rhodes, “If homemade – unserialized – guns weren’t legal at the time of our nation’s founding, we would all have a British accent.”

Shelby Wieman, a spokesperson for Polis, declined to comment citing ongoing litigation. As Colorado’s governor, Polis was named as the defendant in Monday’s lawsuit.

The other gun control laws passed last year facing legal challenges include raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and imposing a three-day waiting period between purchase and receipt of a firearm.

Democratic President Joe Biden has similarly cracked down on ghost guns with the new rules also being challenged in federal court.

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Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Gun rights groups sue Colorado over the state’s ban on ‘ghost guns,’ which lack serial numbers