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May 25, 2021


Reps. Hooton and Daugherty’s bill would adjust the state preemption on gun violence prevention laws, empowering local governments to implement their own solutions

DENVER, CO — The House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee today advanced a bill to declare that the regulation of the sale and transfer of firearms is a matter of both state and local concern, repealing the state-level preemption that currently prevents localities from enacting stricter gun violence laws than those of the state. The bill passed by a vote of 7-4.

“This critical legislation will allow cities and counties to decide if they want higher gun safety standards to meet the wants and needs of their residents,” said Rep. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder. “Our bill is about giving local governments the ability to chart their own course on tailored solutions for gun violence prevention, plain and simple.”

“Colorado has a proud and longstanding tradition of local control, and this bill will ensure that communities can exercise the ability to set higher local standards on the critical issue of the sale and regulation of firearms,” said Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada. “Our state is vast and diverse in many ways, and that’s what makes us strong. Allowing our local gun violence prevention regulations to respect this diversity will only make us stronger.”

Current law prohibits a local government from enacting laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit the purchase, transfer, or possession of a firearm. SB21-256 adjusts this prohibition by declaring the regulation of firearms a matter of state and local concern, allowing local governments to set higher standards. Under this bill, local governments would have the authority to enact regulations governing or prohibiting the transfer or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm components and accessories, so long as the regulations are more restrictive than state laws on the subject.

The bill stipulates that criminal penalties for a violation of these regulations not be brought for a person who did not know or could not be reasonably expected to know that they were in violation of the local regulations.

Recently, in the weeks leading up to the tragic shooting in Boulder, a court struck down Boulder’s local assault weapons ban. If it had been law at the time, SB21-256 would have allowed Boulder to keep this ban in place. The bill does not change existing law that allows Coloradans to travel freely throughout the state with a firearm in their vehicle.

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