DENVER, CO– Two life saving gun safety bills were signed into law by Governor Jared Polis today. The bills seek to prevent suicides, community violence, and tragic accidents by promoting the prompt reporting of lost or stolen firearms and the safe storage of guns when children or other vulnerable populations are present.
“There’s no single gun safety policy that can put an end to the epidemic of gun violence in America, but by taking commonsense steps like the two laws signed today, we can start to make a dent and save some lives,” said Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial. “Reporting a missing firearm is a simple measure that will stop firearms from ending up in the wrong hands and give law enforcement more tools to find these weapons before they end up in crime scenes.”
“Coloradans are tired of seeing gun violence rip families apart and take precious lives away from us far too soon,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “Our bill to require that missing firearms be reported to police is a simple and commonsense request that will hopefully prevent senseless tragedies like the one that took Isabella Joy Thallas’ life. I’m immensely proud that we were able to honor her memory by naming this law after her today.”
“Asking all gun owners in Colorado to safely store their firearms the way the majority of responsible gun owners already do is a small measure that can save countless lives,” said Representative Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn. “A simple and affordable lock on a firearm could prevent the type of tragedies and injuries that befall Colorado families every day.”
“Responsible gun owners who frequently have children in the home should already be locking their firearms away safely,” said Representative Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “I know that many gun owners, including myself, already take this simple step to prevent tragedies. The bill signed into law by Governor Polis today will get us closer to our goal of ensuring everyone practices safe storage.”
SB21-078, sponsored by Representatives Sullivan and Herod, requires an individual who owns a firearm and has reasonable cause to believe that the firearm has been lost or stolen to report that firearm to a law enforcement agency within five days after discovering that the firearm is missing. A first offense for failure to make such a report is a civil infraction punishable by a $25 fine, and a second or subsequent offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine. The bill requires a law enforcement agency that receives a report to enter information about the lost or stolen firearm into the National Crime Information Center database and report the information to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Through an amendment, SB21-078 was renamed the ‘Isabella Joy Thallas Act’, in memory of the young woman who was murdered on June 10, 2020 while she and her boyfriend were walking their dog outside of their apartment in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood. The high-powered semi-automatic rifle used in the killing was stolen.
HB21-1106, sponsored by Representatives Duran and Mullica, will promote responsible gun ownership by creating an educational campaign to encourage gun owners, especially those with children in the home, to properly store their firearms. The bill 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 bill would create 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.