A law expanding background check requirements on Colorado gun sales has been in effect for about a year, and an Associated Press analysis of state data compiled during that span shows the projected impact was vastly overstated in a key budget report.
The discovery has prompted a prominent Democratic lawmaker to question whether the Legislature misallocated millions of taxpayer dollars based on the flawed estimate, which has provided an opportunity for Republicans to resume attacks over regulation that already has come at great political cost to Colorado liberals.
Democrats pushed the proposal into law last year as part of a package of gun restrictions meant to improve safety after devastating mass shootings. Lawmakers drafting the background check requirement, aimed at keeping firearms away from those with a criminal history, relied on information from a non-partisan research arm of the Legislature that predicted about 420,000 new reviews over the first two years. Accordingly, they budgeted about $3 million to the agency that conducts the checks to handle the anticipated surge of work.