Gov. Jared Polis signed into law two gun reform bills Monday.
One of the bills — Senate Bill 21-78 — creates reporting requirements for Colorado gun owners whose firearms are lost or stolen. If someone does not tell law enforcement about their firearm being lost or stolen, within five days of learning it’s gone, the person can be found guilty of a petty offense and required to pay a $25 fine.
Under the second bill — House Bill 21-1106 — a person can be prosecuted for unlawful firearm storage if a juvenile can gain access to a firearm without their parent or guardian’s permission; or if someone barred from having a gun lives on the premises where a firearm is not properly stored. To comply with the law, a firearm must be kept on the lawful owner’s person or stored in a way that “a reasonable person would believe to be secure.”
Gun reform measures at the Capitol are often contentious, and the safe storage legislation drew extended opposition from Republicans who argued the law could impede gun owners from reaching firearms in a timely manner during an emergency.
“If you know about weapons, and you know about hazardous situations, you know you need quick access, easy access,” Rep. Shane Sandridge, a Colorado Springs Republican, argued. “When I was a police officer years ago, I lived in a really rough area. They didn’t pay us very much. And I got threats all the time. … Sometimes I would get home late at night and drop my belt with my gun and lay it by my bed and sleep.”
Though the bills were introduced before the March 22 mass shooting at a King Soopers in south Boulder, the event elevated the topic of gun violence prevention in the General Assembly, and for many Democrats it heightened the need for urgent action.
Some Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg and gun-control advocate Rep. Tom Sullivan, have suggested more gun reform measures could be enacted this year.
Many gun violence prevention advocates have called on lawmakers to pass an assault weapons ban. The alleged King Soopers shooter used an assault weapon — a Ruger AR-556 pistol — to kill 10 people.