Colorado blues: Governor signs bill requiring credit card companies to track gun, ammo sales

Gun Rights

Colorado Democrats have won another battle against the U.S. Constitution. On Wednesday, Democrat Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a requirement that credit card companies track credit card purchases of firearms and ammunition.

The new law forces card payment companies to apply a special code to gun and ammunition transactions in the state. The bill’s prime sponsors were also Democrats.

Supporters say the “merchant category code” to firearm purchases will help banks and payment companies alert law enforcement of potentially dangerous purchasing patterns.

Sen. Tom Sullivan of Centennial, Colorado, pushed the legislation; his son was killed in a 2012 Aurora theater mass shooting by a man who Sullivan said bought $11,000 in firearms and military gear using a credit card. He wants banks to alert law enforcement when suspicious purchases are made.

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 Second Amendment and constitutional protectors say this is a backdoor gun registration. The National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation opposed the bill.

The Colorado Attorney general’s office will have exclusive authority to enforce the new law. Before bringing an enforcement action, the attorney general’s office must notify in writing the person alleged to have violated the law. The bill sets standards for such notification and a violator has 30 days to “cure the violation in accordance with the standards in the bill.”

If the person does not “cure” the violation, the attorney general may bring an action to seek a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation and an injunction that prevents the person from purchasing more firearms or ammunition.

The law goes into effect starting Sept. 1, and will be fully in effect beginning May 1, 2025, unless a court stops the enforcement under constitutional grounds. Laws such as this one typically draw lawsuits and requests for injunctions.

A summary of the bill is at this Colorado Assembly link.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill this week that prohibits the kind of gun sale tracking law that Colorado has just passed.

In addition to the new tracking law, Colorado’s lawmakers are considering an excise tax on guns and ammunition.

HB 24-1349 creates an 9% excise tax on the sale of all firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition. If passed, voters will decide on the tax on the ballot this fall. Firearms and ammunition are already subject to an 11% federal excise tax known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, and are subject to other state and local taxes. If Colorado residents go along with the tax plan, it will be only the second state to have a firearms and ammunition excise tax, and will raise the overall tax on these purchases to 19%.

Colorado has become a Democrat state over the past two decades. While the majority of voters chose Republican presidential candidates between 1920 and 2004, during the last four presidential elections, Democrat Party candidates have won Colorado. In 2020, Joe Biden won the state by a 13.5% margin.

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