The President of the Colorado Senate, John Morse, recently unveiled a gun control bill that is aimed at assault weapon manufacturers, sellers and owners. His citations include that these military-style weapons have “no public benefit” and simply “no business on our streets or in our forests.”

This sweeping bill promotes legislation that would hold both manufacturers and sellers personally liable for any damages caused by these types of weapons. Citing that “the highest degree of care” must be observed to ensure weapons are not sold to potential, future criminals. Simply stated: this law makes owners of military-assault weapons responsible for every single shot and round fired outside their private residences.

Morse stated: “You fire this weapon, you own that bullet, whatever it does,” as the basis for his bill, which was introduced on February 27, 2013, in front of the Colorado Senate.

How does this bill define an assault rifle? In fact, it states an assault weapon is any firearm that is not a shotgun, handgun, lever-action or bolt-action rifle.

Suffocating the very life out of firearm owners, Morse continued his lengthy statement by declaring, “These guns are four times as powerful as handguns. … That means they’re more effective at killing, they’re more efficient at killing, and they do a lot more collateral damage when they’re used. … There are people who believe they have the right to own these guns, but we need to be better at making sure that we’ve articulated clearly the responsibility that goes long with these guns.”

The bill, however, does offer exemptions for people who use an assault weapon in a self-defense situation, police officers and also military personnel. Everyone else – from the manufacturer to the shooter – could essentially be nailed for civil damages related to discharging an assault weapon.

If the bill were indeed passed by Colorado’s Senate, an entirely new set of responsibilities would be placed on sellers, making them responsible for ensuring assault weapons are not being sold to potential criminals. However, a jury would ultimately make the decision whether the seller was indeed negligent and should have known or suspected the gun would be used in a crime. However, the requirements to determine if a buyer is fit to purchase an assault weapon are open to interpretation.

Placing the responsibility in the hands of gun sellers to determine mental health related issues and the potential for someone to commit a future crime, is not necessarily the best way to handle situations such as these. In fact, requiring more detailed background checks may, in fact, be even better enforcement, especially for determining potential buyers that suffer from mental illnesses. In fact, psychological experts even agree that people suffering from delusions and/or personality disorders may be professionals at hiding their illness from others – even educated mental health physicians. How are gun sellers supposed to determine the mental capacity of someone purchasing an assault weapon? Chances are, if this law does indeed pass the Senate, most assault weapon sellers will eventually stop selling these weapons altogether, simply because of the dangerous liability associated with firearms exchanging hands and the potential for future violence.

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