Bill to Expand Background Checks, Save Lives Advances

Judiciary Committee Advances gun violence prevention measure 

DENVER, CO– The House Judiciary Committee today advanced Reps. Judy Amabile and Steven Woodrow’s bill to strengthen Colorado’s gun transfer background check system by preventing individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors from obtaining a firearm for a period of time and closing the ‘Charleston Loophole’. The bill passed by a vote of 7-4.

“When my community was devastated by the senseless actions of a troubled individual with a history of violence, I was left reeling and grasping for answers on how to prevent this from happening again,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “As the investigation continues, it has become clear to me that the shooter’s conviction of a violent misdemeanor should have been the red flag that prevented him from buying a deadly weapon. I’m proud to honor my community with action today.”

“Child abuse, hate crimes, posession of an illegal weapon — these are the types of recent convictions that would stop you from obtaining a firearm under this bill,” said Rep. Steven Woodrow, D-Denver. “While I’m certain we’ll continue to encounter opposition on this legislation moving forward, an overwhelming majority of Coloradans agree it really shouldn’t be controversial. This bill is about saving lives, and ensuring that individuals with a history of violence have a more difficult time getting their hands on the type of weapon that can take a dozen lives in mere seconds.” 

HB21-1298 prohibits a person who has been convicted of certain violent misdemeanor offenses from purchasing a firearm for 5 years. These specific criminal offenses show a propensity for violence or illegal usage of a weapon and include charges like child abuse, hate crimes, cruelty to animals, sexual assault, and third degree assault.

The bill also closes the “Charleston loophole”, which allows an individual who may not have otherwise passed a background check to obtain a firearm if the results of said background check take longer than three days to process. This bill avoids that by creating a state requirement for a firearms dealer to receive approval from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation prior to transferring a firearm.