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March 10, 2023

Commonsense Gun Violence Prevention Bill Advances in House

Bill to require three day waiting period advances

DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation on a preliminary vote to create a minimum three day waiting period, delaying immediate access to a firearm and saving Colorado lives from gun violence.

“A 3 day waiting period requirement for the purchase of a firearm is commonsense, evidence-based policy supported by 72 percent of Coloradans,” said Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood. “We’re here to deliver on our promise to pass legislation that protects more Coloradans from becoming victims of senseless gun violence.”

“I’ve seen firsthand how a ‘cooling off’ period is crucial in saving a life from preventable gun death,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “Research shows that this gun violence prevention policy is effective in reducing gun deaths from both suicide and homicide. Our bill is one step of many that Colorado Democrats are taking to improve public safety and make significant progress in reducing gun violence in our communities.”

Research shows that creating a waiting period for purchasing a firearm has led to a 7 to 11 percent reduction in suicides by firearm and a 17 percent reduction in firearm-related homicides. In 2020, Colorado had the seventh highest suicide rate in the US, and in 2021, there were 740 suicides by firearm in Colorado, accounting for more than half of all suicides in the state. From 2014 to 2019, the number of firearm deaths in Colorado was greater than deaths from motor vehicle crashes and opioid overdoses. Among firearm deaths, more than 75 percent were caused by intentional self-harm or suicide.

Current law mandates that a background check is complete before a firearm can be transferred, which often takes less than three days. HB23-1219 would require a gun purchaser to wait three days from the initiation of the background check or an approved background check, whichever is later, until they could be in possession of their newly purchased gun. Creating a waiting period delays immediate access to firearms and can help prevent impulsive acts of violence, including suicides, homicides and assaults. Mandatory waiting periods are supported by 72 percent of gun owners. 

Transferring a firearm prior to the expiration of the waiting period would be a civil infraction punishable by a $500 fine for the first offense, and a $500 to $5,000 fine for a second or any subsequent offenses. 

The bill would not apply to antique firearms. It also exempts the transfer of a firearm between an active duty military servicemember who is set to deploy overseas and their family.

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