Colorado Gun Control Bills Killed By Coronavirus

A pair of gun control bills that were the top priorities for anti-gun activists in the state aren’t likely to be taken up this session, according to Democrat lawmakers in Denver. With just weeks to go before the legislative session ends, and lawmakers still far apart on a budget for the state in 2021, dozens of bills are headed for the chopping block, and among them are bills that would have imposed a requirement that gun owners report stolen firearms to the police, as well as a gun storage measure.

The gun loss or theft bill, along with the gun storage bill, House Bill 1355, were assigned to the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee where they are expected to be postponed indefinitely, or killed.

The secure storage bill would make unlawfully storing a firearm a misdemeanor. This would apply to guns stored where a minor can access them without permission from their parent and those stored in the residence of a person who isn’t allowed to have a firearm. Sponsors say a large component of the bill is educating the public.

House Speaker KC Becker, a Boulder Democrat, said she believes the gun bills are still a priority, but coronavirus “has changed everything.”

“That legislation always draws huge crowds, so that’s an issue,” Becker said. “Also huge resistance. And to get those bills that are starting in the House and that are currently in the House that have a long way to go, all done in a couple weeks, with everything else we have going on, is just challenging.”

Frankly, neither of these bills should have been a priority for lawmakers to begin with. The reporting requirement for lost or stolen firearms has been a fairly popular agenda item for gun control advocates for nearly a decade, but there’s absolutely no evidence that the laws do anything to prevent criminal access to firearms. When gun control groups first began pushing the measure, they billed it as a way to cut down on straw purchases, but even in states where the measures have been on the books for years, the law isn’t widely used. Most gun owners actually do report their firearms stolen if that ever happens, after all, and straw buyers can simply tell police that their gun was stolen after they’ve delivered it to the prohibited person they purchased it for in the first place.

As for the proposed gun storage law, it too suffers from major flaws. For example, storing a firearm in the home of someone who’s not allowed to possess a gun would be a misdemeanor under the the bill, even though possessing a firearm as a prohibited person is already a felony under both state and federal law. The state also already has a child access prevention law on the books that makes it a felony to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun to any person under the age of 18,” and it’s a misdemeanor to allow a juvenile to have access to a long gun without the consent or knowledge of their parents.

These are both do-nothing bills that fail to address the increase in violent crime across the state since the passage back in 2015 of Colorado’s ban on ammunition magazines that can accept more than 15-rounds and a “universal background check” bill. Both the gun storage bill and the lost-or-stolen legislation are aimed squarely at legal gun owners, as opposed to the state’s violent criminals, and are another sign that the Democrats in control of the statehouse are still far more interested in attacking the right to keep and bear arms than they are in tackling the growing violence in the state. Coloradans are better off with lawmakers passing by these bills for the year, but unfortunately, the sponsor of the legislation has already indicted both bills will be back in 2021.