Today, May 9, Congressman Jason Crow will introduce a bill that would prohibit the sale of guns to residents from other states, which would effectively close a loophole that allowed a woman from Florida obsessed with the Columbine massacre to purchase a shotgun from a Littleton gun store in April.
"Last month, 500,000 children were kept home from school because of a threat of violence that Colorado knows all too well. The threat could have been prevented by simply ensuring that we treat shotguns and rifles the same way we treat handguns," said Crow in a statement.
Federal law only prohibits the sale of handguns — not shotguns or rifles — to residents from other states. Eighteen-year-old Sol Pais brought Denver metro schools to a halt following a tip to the FBI that she may have posed a threat after she flew to Colorado and purchased the shotgun.
Local law enforcement insisted the shotgun was purchased legally. But according to the Giffords Law Center, an out-of-state purchase of a long gun, like a shotgun, must "fully comply with state law in both parties’ states of residence." In Pais's case, the two parties were herself and the gun dealer.
However, gun laws in Florida and Colorado are different. Pais wouldn't have been able to procure the same gun in Florida, which bans anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a long gun and has a three-day waiting period.
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Crow believes the bill will help eliminate confusion among gun sellers and will garner support from Democratic and some Republican lawmakers.
"This consistency across the board with firearms should be good for gun dealers, too. Right now there’s an ambiguity with the law. This removes that ambiguity and puts that responsibility back on the state of residence," Crow says.
Crow's congressional district has a history of tragic gun violence, including Columbine and the Aurora movie theater shooting. And on Tuesday, a student died and eight others were injured at a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.
"It’s obviously a horrific incident, and it’s one that’s becoming all too common for the country and for Colorado," says Crow, who has said that gun violence is a public-health crisis that needs to be addressed through policy changes.