In a move echoing California’s recent gun control legislative misadventure, the Colorado State Assembly is poised to enact legislation aimed at imposing significant restrictions on legal concealed carry within the Centennial State. In this article, we cover the parallels between Colorado’s bill SB24-131 and California’s SB2, now stayed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the apparent strategy behind it.

What are “Sensitive Spaces?”

We previously covered the emerging concept of “sensitive spaces” as an argument for placing stringent limits on legal conceal carry in our article A Closer Look at the “Sensitive Places” Argument – A Gun Control Trojan Horse. The law’s onerous restrictions earned it the moniker “Ban Conceal Carry Everywhere” bill by its critics.

The “sensitive places” argument posits that there are certain locations where the presence of firearms poses an increased risk to public safety. Advocates argue that in these places, stricter gun control measures and restrictions on concealed carry are necessary to protect the public.

In the landmark Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court confirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own firearms for self-defense, but also recognized that certain “longstanding prohibitions” on carrying firearms in sensitive places or sensitive times (such as government buildings or schools) are constitutional.

A few years later in 2011 in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a Second Amendment case challenging New York’s concealed carry licensing system, the justices’ questions focused on both who may obtain a license to carry a gun in public and where legal carry was permitted. They acknowledged that Heller provided a carveout for firearms restrictions in “sensitive places,” but the Court did not define what constituted a sensitive location. This omission in Bruen opened the door to new rounds of legislation and legal challenges to test the limits on concealed carry.

Since then, state and federal courts have upheld firearms restrictions in a number of locations but have also struck others down. Most recently, in January, 2024, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida, cited Bruen in finding that the federal ban on legal conceal carry in Post Offices was unconstitutional.

Colorado SB24-131 Following in California’s Footsteps

Colorado Democrats crafted, SB24-131, Prohibiting Carrying Firearms in Sensitive Spaces, a bill that is closely modeled after California’s SB2. The Colorado bill would prohibit concealed carry (even with a permit) in any of the following locations, including their adjacent parking areas:

  • Public parks or playgrounds.
  • Recreation facilities open to the public that are owned by the government.
  • On property open to the public while a gathering, public assembly or special event is conducted, including demonstrations, marches, rallies, vigils, protests, picket line and other events.
  • Public or private hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, medical offices, urgent care centers or other medical facilities.
  • Financial institutions (i.e., banks, credit unions, savings and loans, etc.)
  • Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples or other places of worship.
  • Stadiums and other sporting venues.
  • Amusement parks, aquariums, carnivals, circuses, fairs, museums, water parks and zoos.
  • Marijuana dispensaries.
  • Any government building.
  • Public libraries.
  • Homeless shelters.
  • Day care centers or preschools.
  • Campuses of public or private colleges and universities, including buildings, classrooms, laboratories, research facilities, artistic venues, athletic fields and other.

The Colorado bill could easily be called the “Ban Concealed Carry Everywhere – Part 2” bill! Importantly, we suspect that the list of “sensitive places” is intentionally long because it provides judges with a menu of locations they can choose from in a future case. The plausible hope is that in an eventual legal challenge at least some restrictions might survive. Given the Ninth Circuit’s blanket rejection of SB2, this hope may prove to be in vain.

California’s SB2 Stayed

In December 2023, Federal District Judge Cormac Carney suspended California’s SB2 by issuing an injunction, deeming it unconstitutional and in violation of the Second Amendment. Judge Carney argued that SB2 essentially labeled nearly all public places in California as “sensitive places,” thereby infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding and highly qualified citizens to carry firearms for self-defense in public.

A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit overruled Judge Carney, and that decision was subsequently reversed, and Carney’s stay was reinstated, rendering SB2 moot pending review by the Supreme Court.

That SB2 is likely to be rendered unconstitutional apparently is not enough to encourage gun control advocates and their legislative allies to exercise restraint. We believe there is a reason for that.

The Gun Control Activist Strategy

So, why have gun control activists and their allies in the Colorado legislature pursued a law that is likely to be stayed just as California’s SB2? We anticipate there are two reasons.

First, it appears there is just too much money from well-funded gun control advocacy groups to not continue testing the limits of what the Supreme Court may or may not find constitutional. Carrying the legislative water for the gun control lobby provides willing politicians with valuable campaign funds.

A likely second rationale is more strategic. Forcing gun rights groups to mount legal challenges to laws even gun control activists know are likely to be found unconstitutional is a form of political “lawfare,” designed to tie-up gun rights organizations in the courts for years, depleting their resources and making it more difficult to resist future overreaching legislation.


You might be surprised to learn that we agree there are sensitive places where people and kids are most vulnerable, because we believe these are exactly the places where legally armed citizens should be.

The recent shooting at the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas where an active shooter was stopped in her tracks before she could continue her attack on churchgoers is just one example of how prohibiting legal conceal carry in “sensitive spaces” endangers lives.

Even so, we encourage those who legally carry concealed to stay current with all relevant laws and regulations and remain wary of legislation pushed with the “sensitive places” rationale.