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March 28, 2024

Bills to Reduce Gun Violence Passes Committee

Legislation would require responsible business practices to sell firearms and make it easier to recognize dangerous firearm purchasing patterns, helping to prevent gun violence

DENVER, CO - The House Business Affairs & Labor Committee today passed two gun violence prevention bills to require firearm dealers to hold a license to sell firearms and help law enforcement recognize dangerous firearm purchasing patterns. HB24-1353 passed by a vote of 6-3. SB24-066 passed by a vote of 8-3.

“Colorado Democrats have passed numerous gun violence prevention laws over the last few years, and this bill will help ensure compliance with these laws,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver, sponsor of HB24-1353. “Our legislation would require a firearms dealer to have a state permit in order to sell firearms and would increase inspections to ensure that gun dealers are complying with state and federal gun laws. Data show that state permitting policies for firearm dealers lead to fewer guns trafficked. I’m proud to sponsor this legislation to keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

"Firearm dealers could be the first line of defense against gun violence if they are given the proper tools, which is what this legislation aims to do," said Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins, sponsor of HB24-1353. "Our bill would train firearm dealers to better identify people with dangerous intentions from accessing guns –  from straw purchasers, those at risk for self-harm and more. We’re implementing crucial oversight measures to prevent gun violence and save Colorado lives."

Starting July 1, 2025, HB24-1353 would require firearm dealers in Colorado to hold a state firearms dealer permit in order to sell guns in Colorado. Operating without this permit would be an unclassified felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.

Firearm dealers would apply to the Department of Revenue and must hold a valid federal firearm license to be eligible for a state firearms dealer permit. Additionally, applicants will not be eligible for the permit if they have an adverse licensing action taken for good cause by the federal government or any state within three years of applying. They will also be ineligible if they have been convicted of a violation of any state or federal law regarding the possession or sale of firearms. 

Other requirements for receiving a state firearms dealer permit include:

  • An annual finger-printed background checks for employees,

  • Training on how to prevent theft and identify straw purchasers, fraudulent activities, and people at risk of self-harm. An exam on this training would also be required before an applicant is granted a permit,

  • Random and regular inspections to ensure firearms dealers are complying with state and federal law,

  • Firearm sales to only occur during business hours, except during a gun show,

  • Compliance with safe storage regulations, and

  • Contacting law enforcement to report a suspicious person who tried to unlawfully purchase a firearm within 48 hours of the incident.

Studies show that policies regulating firearm dealer licensing can lead to significant reductions in gun violence, including gun homicides and suicides. After Connecticut passed a similar law, its firearm homicide rate fell by 28 percent and firearm suicide rate decreased by 33 percent.

“When we’ve looked back into mass shooters’ actions before they attacked our communities, we often find suspicious activity like large purchases of firearms and ammunition," said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood, sponsor of SB24-066. “Merchant codes have been used effectively to alert law enforcement to activity related to human trafficking and money laundering. With specific merchant codes for gun store purchases, we can identify this suspicious activity before they attack our schools, places of worship, and grocery stores so we have the opportunity to intervene before innocent lives are taken from us.”

“Many mass shootings are preventable, and our legislation is an important tool in identifying people with dangerous intentions so we can prevent gun violence before it happens," said Rep. Javier Mabrey, D-Denver, sponsor of SB24-066. "When Coloradans make purchases with a credit card, these transactions are categorized with merchant codes to identify financial patterns and criminal activity, like human trafficking. Every industry has these codes, and the firearm industry should not be an exception. This legislation would give law enforcement the tools they need to better recognize dangerous activity so we can prevent mass shooting tragedies that plague our communities.”

SB24-066 would require payment card networks like Visa or Mastercard to provide a specific code, known as a merchant code, for businesses that primarily sell firearms and ammunition. Merchant codes would allow banks and credit card companies to recognize dangerous firearm purchasing patterns – like a domestic extremist building up an arsenal – and report them to law enforcement.

A report found this legislation could have prevented many mass shootings, including the Aurora movie theater shooting and the Pulse Nightclub shooting. The Aurora movie theater shooter used a MasterCard to buy $11,000 worth of weapons and military gear at multiple stores in the six weeks before the shooting.

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