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Colorado Bans Handgun Possession by Youths

<i> Associated Press</i>

The state Legislature Saturday banned handgun possession by teen-agers as lawmakers ended a special five-day session on youth violence.

Gov. Roy Romer said he would sign the ban on Monday and expects enforcement to begin “30 minutes later.”

The governor convened the session last week, hoping to curb spiraling juvenile violence. Legislative leaders at first objected, saying a short-term session was not the answer, and the governor and legislators agreed Saturday that the issue must be taken up again in January.

The handgun bill, which Romer said he considered the top priority, bans the weapons for those under age 18, except when used for hunting, firearms instruction and target practice. The first offense would be a misdemeanor.

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The measure allows a juvenile found to be illegally possessing a handgun to be jailed for a minimum of 10 days.

Lawmakers also approved a new prison system for violent juveniles.


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