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March 22, 2024

House Advances Legislation to Reduce Gun Thefts from Vehicles

Legislation would promote responsible gun ownership, safe storage of firearms in vehicles

DENVER, CO - The House today advanced legislation in a preliminary vote to help prevent firearms from being stolen in vehicles by requiring them to be secured while unattended in a vehicle.

“As a Western Slope legislator, I know how important responsible and safe gun ownership is for our rural communities and our way of life," said Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, D-Glenwood Springs. "This commonsense legislation helps reduce gun thefts from vehicles and reduces gun violence while respecting the 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners across the state.”  

“When someone steals a firearm, they bypass the protections we’ve put in place that consider factors like mental health struggles and a history of domestic violence before they’re handed a gun," said Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County. "Gun thefts from vehicles are on the rise, putting our communities at risk of preventable gun crimes. By requiring guns to be securely stored in vehicles when they are unattended, we’re preventing gun owners from losing their weapons and keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people.”

HB24-1348 would require firearms in unattended vehicles to be stored in locked containers that are out of plain view to help prevent them from being stolen. The bill would also require the Office of Suicide Prevention to include information for vehicle safe storage on its website and include vehicle safe storage information that must be displayed at gun stores.

There are exclusions such as antique firearms, peace officers, military service members, and people engaged in hunting. Recreational vehicles and non-handgun firearms in a vehicle on a person’s private farm or ranch are also exempt.

According to the Denver Police Department, 846 of the 1,221 guns that were reported as being stolen were stolen from vehicles in 2023. Of those stolen firearms, 61% were stolen without stealing the vehicle itself. Data from 2020 found that Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs had the highest rates of gun thefts from cars in Colorado.

Colorado Democrats passed a 2021 law that promotes responsible gun ownership by requiring gun owners to properly store their firearms when they are not in use, especially when children are present. The law also requires licensed firearms dealers to provide a locking device at the time of sale or transfer of all firearms. Federal law already requires that handguns sold by licensed dealers be sold with locking devices. Finally, the law created the charge “unlawful storage of a firearm” when a firearm is not stored safely and a juvenile or someone who is ineligible to possess a firearm is present, making it a class 2 misdemeanor.

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