U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse sponsors gun bill, citing mass shooting in Boulder | Government

Second Amendment

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse introduced a bill aimed at gun violence Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C., but his mind was on Boulder.

The End Gun Violence Act takes into account the mass shooting March 22 at a King Soopers store in Boulder, the city in the heart of Neguse’s 2nd Congressional District.

Boulder police officer Eric Talley and nine others were killed.

In June, the Democratic majority in the Colorado General Assembly responded by passing a trio of bills, including a prohibition on gun dealers selling weapons to those who have certain offenses on a background check.

The list of offenses in Colorado includes assault, sex assault, child abuse, violating a protection order, harassment, elder abuse, cruelty to animals, providing a gun to a juvenile or if a person was adjudicated to be a bias-motived crime.

House Bill 1298 took effect when Gov. Jared Polis signed it into law on June 19. The governor was Neguse’s predecessor in Congress and continues to reside in Boulder.

The law would have made a difference in Boulder. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa of Arvada, who as 21 at the time of the shooting, was convicted of third-degree assault on a high school classmate in 2017.

He faced 54 counts of crimes related to the assault on the grocery store on Table Mesa Drive. Last month he was ruled incompetent to stand trial, though prosecutors have asked for a second evaluation.

Colorado became one of 22 states and the District of Columbia to ban sales because of various misdemeanors, but Neguse said Thursday that offenders get around state laws by shopping in states without the restriction.

In July Polis signed Senate Bill 271, providing an exemption to the ban for those guilty of criminal impersonation, theft, drug offenses and other such non-violent felonies.

“Ensuring that firearms cannot be sold to violent individuals is crucial to preventing gun violence and saving lives,” Neguse said in a statement. “This law is common-sense and would keep guns out of the hands of those likely to use them to perpetrate violence.”

The federal law would extend the restricting ban on gun-buying from felons to those convicted of violent misdemeanors in the last five years, including the sale or possession of ammunition. A violation could extend to making threats.

Read Neguse’s bill by clicking here.

The issue is not new to Neguse. After the assault, the congressman pressed President Joe Biden to regulate concealed assault-style firearms, such as the Ruger AR-556 used by the Boulder shooter.

He then stood with Biden in the Rose Garden as the president presented a package of gun violence prevention measures, including regulations on such weapons.

“The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as a nation,” Biden said that day.

The National Rifle Association, the gun rights lobby, oppose such Second Amendment controls.

“These actions could require Americans to surrender lawful property, push states to expand confiscation orders and put a gun control lobbyist to head ATF,” the NRA tweeted on April 8. “Biden is dismantling the 2nd Amendment.”

The financially and politically embattled organization concluded, “It’s time to STAND and FIGHT!”

Neguse is an advocate for reinstating the federal assault weapons ban and red-flag laws to put temporary distance between people determined to be a threat  and guns. Neguse cosponsored a bipartisan bill on background checks, as well as closing a loophole in the gun laws he believes contributed to the 2015 shooting deaths of nine people at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

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