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March 14, 2024

Legislation to Reduce Gun Thefts from Vehicles Passes Committee

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

DENVER, CO - The House Judiciary Committee today passed legislation to help prevent firearms from being stolen in cars by requiring them to be secured while unattended in a vehicle. HB24-1348 passed by a vote of 7-3.

“As a rural legislator from the Western Slope, I know that so many gun owners value proper training and safety, and that includes safe storage," said Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, D-Glenwood Springs. "It’s just common sense to protect valuable property and to keep our communities safe. This bill has broad support from experienced gun owners. I look forward to continuing to improve gun violence prevention measures in Colorado.”

“Guns are more likely to be stolen from a car than a house, yet Colorado does not have any laws that require guns to be properly secured when stored in a car," said Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County. "Our legislation would require guns to be locked in a safe storage container and hidden when left in a vehicle so they can’t be easily accessible during a break-in. This will save countless lives and prevent stolen, untraceable firearms from being found at crime scenes.”

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.

Antique firearms, peace officers, military service members and people engaged in hunting are exempted from this law.

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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