In the past seven years , Colorado instituted one new gun law. Lawmakers passed six times that amount in one legislative session, and on Saturday, Gov. Jared Polis signed three of the bills into law.
These bills were announced after the mass shooting at King Soopers in Boulder on March 22, when 10 people were killed.
But, said Boulder Rep. Judy Amabile at the bill signing event, “It isn’t just about mass shootings.
“It’s about what we sadly call everyday gun violence,” said Amabile, a sponsor of one of the bills. “Every day people are dying all across our state from homicides, from accidents, from mass shootings and mostly from suicide.”
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This year Polis signed two other bills, setting regulations for safe storage of guns in homes and requirements for reporting lost or stolen firearms. One other gun bill, meant to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, awaits the governor’s signature.
Here’s a brief look at the three that were signed Saturday. They are set to take effect immediately.
Expanded background checks (HB21-1298)
What it does: You can no longer buy a gun without a completed background check (a person who sells one before it’s complete could face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge); the list of people who are not legally allowed to get guns for five years now includes following violent misdemeanors: third-degree assault, sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, child abuse, violation of a protection order, a crime against an at-risk person, harassment, a bias-motivated crime, cruelty to animals, possession of an illegal weapon and unlawfully providing a firearm other than a handgun to a juvenile.
Local control of gun regulations (SB21-256)
What it does: This reverses a ban that keeps local governments (towns, cities and counties) from creating their own gun regulations. But local jurisdictions can only make ordinances that are stricter, not more lenient, than state law. Any regulations currently in place that are less restrictive are effectively overturned. A person can only face a criminal penalty for violating local laws if they knew about them or reasonably should have known. The new law also puts concealed-carry requirements back in the hands of the state so they’re consistent, but it does allow local governments to decide where those guns can be carried.
The Office of Gun Violence Prevention (HB21-1299)
What it does: About $3 million will go to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment for the first year to create the state’s first Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which will be tasked with coordinating and promoting efforts to reduce gun violence, including providing training and public awareness campaigns. The office can also provide grants to community organizations working on the issue, especially those working with high-risk communities.