After An Out-Of-State Shooter Frightened The Front Range, Jason Crow Introduces A New Bill To Slow Similar Gun Sales

May 9, 2019
Photo: Jason Crow Columbine Memorial 20th
U.S. Rep. Jason, Crow, D-Colo., center joins attendees during a program for the victims of the massacre at Columbine High School 20 years ago Saturday, April 20, 2019, in Littleton, Colo.

A Colorado congressman introduced a bill he said will close a loophole that allowed a Florida woman to purchase a shotgun, prompting fears of an attack and widespread school closures along the Front Range last month.

Jason Crow, a Democrat representing Aurora, introduced the Interstate Firearm Transfer Loophole Act, which would prevent buyers from immediately obtaining rifles and shotguns when traveling to another state. Some experts say the shotgun purchase last month was already illegal under current federal law.

Crow, a gun owner, and former Army Ranger said in a statement that the bill is “a common sense measure that would remove the ambiguity in federal law that allowed the suspect to buy a shotgun in Colorado in April.”

Under the bill, if a buyer were coming from out-of-state to buy a shotgun or rifle, the dealer would be required to ship the firearm to a licensed dealer in the buyer’s home state, where the buyer would have to pass a background check. That’s already the required procedure for out-of-state customers who buy a handgun.

The bill would leave in place exemptions for “sportsman-related scenarios and inheritances,” according to Crow’s office.

It’s not clear whether the 18-year-old woman from Florida, Sol Pais, legally obtained the shotgun she eventually killed herself with. Federal law says that if a customer is from out-of-state, the firearms dealer must conform to the gun laws of both states.

While the purchase was legal under Colorado law, it appears to be illegal under Florida law, which has an age limit of 21 and older on all firearm purchases.

Florida gun laws were tightened following the Parkland school shooting. Part of those changes included a three-day wait on all Florida purchases. In Colorado, Pais was able to walk out of the store on the same day with the shotgun, after completing a background check.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and attorneys specializing in defending licensed gun dealers pointed to a provision in Florida’s law that seems to exempt shotgun and rifle purchases in other states. However, it’s not clear that exemption in the statute actually applies to the age limit or three-day hold.

Other experts and gun control advocates, including Everytown for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, argued the shotgun purchase was illegal.