House Moves to Allow Local Governments to Implement Community-Driven Gun Violence Prevention Solutions

Reps. Hooton and Daugherty’s bill would adjust the state preemption on gun violence prevention laws, empowering local governments to implement their own solutions

DENVER, CO — The House today advanced a bill to declare that the regulation of the sale and transfer of firearms is a matter of both state and local concern, repealing the state-level preemption that currently prevents localities from enacting stricter gun violence laws than those of the state. The bill passed on Second Reading. 

“We’ve been working to end mass shootings and stem the tide of gun violence in Colorado for years now, and the tragic shooting that reeled my Boulder community this year only made the need to act that much more pressing,” said Rep. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder. “The critical bill we advanced today will give local governments the ability to raise gun safety standards in their communities to meet the needs of their residents.” 

“Colorado’s vast regional diversity means that the gun violence prevention solutions that come up in Custer County are probably going to look a lot different to those in Denver,” said Rep. Lindsey Daughtery, D-Arvada. “This bill respects the rights of gun owners and follows in our longstanding tradition of local control to allow localities to implement the solutions that make sense for their individual communities.” 

Current law prohibits a local government from enacting laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit the purchase, transfer, or possession of a firearm. SB21-256 adjusts this prohibition by declaring the regulation of firearms a matter of state and local concern, allowing local governments to set higher standards. Under this bill, local governments would have the authority to enact regulations governing the transfer or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm components and accessories, so long as the regulations are more restrictive than state laws on the subject. 

The bill stipulates that criminal penalties for a violation of local regulations cannot be brought for a person who did not know or could not be reasonably expected to know that they were in violation of the local regulations. And that only civil penalties can be brought for a person violating a local concealed carry regulations with a maximum first offense penalty of $50.

Recently, in the weeks leading up to the tragic shooting in Boulder, a court struck down Boulder’s local assault weapons ban. If it had been law at the time, SB21-256 would have allowed Boulder to keep this ban in place. The bill does not change existing law that allows Coloradans to travel freely throughout the state with a firearm in their vehicle.