Current News



Flurry of Colorado gun bills advance in Legislature, with one now headed to Gov. Polis' desk

Seth Klamann, The Denver Post on

Published in News & Features

DENVER — Fresh off a historic vote to advance a ban on many high-powered, semi-automatic guns, the Colorado House approved three more gun-related bills over the weekend — sending them across the Capitol for another round of debate.

Those votes on Saturday were followed Monday by the state Senate’s final approval for two other gun reform bills dealing with concealed-carry permits and firearms storage in vehicles.

The House’s Saturday votes — on bills concerning gun dealer licensing, insurance requirements for gun owners, and taxes on sales of guns and ammunition — relied on support only from Democrats, though varying numbers of the majority caucus opposed each bill, joining Republicans.

The party splits were similar for Monday’s votes in the Senate.

The Legislature’s Democrats this year have embraced gun control and reform measures as they seek to reduce gun violence, advancing a slate of bills that would add new restrictions while also seeking to better enforce existing laws. Their Republican colleagues have blasted the legislative package as potentially violating the Second Amendment, and their allies have promised swift legal challenges should many of the bills ever become law.

Democratic House leadership on Friday limited initial debate on each measure to between 90 minutes and two hours, an increasingly common tactic used to head off Republican filibustering for contentious debates.

While the highest-profile measure — the ban on “assault” weapons — awaits a Senate committee hearing, here is where the other newly advanced bills stand:

— Concealed-carry training: Passed 20-14 by the Senate, House Bill 1174 would increase requirements for anyone seeking to obtain a concealed-carry permit. The bill would require in-person training and live-fire exercises, eight hours of coursework and a test that a trainee must pass. The bill’s next stop is Gov. Jared Polis’ desk.


— Gun storage in vehicles: Passed 21-13 by the Senate, House Bill 1348 would require that when gun owners leave firearms in their vehicles, they store them in a “locked, hard-sided container.” Changes made by moderate Democrats and Republicans in the Senate — to increase some criminal penalties for thefts of firearms — set up disagreements with the House-passed version. Rep. Elizabeth Velasco said sponsors were likely to send the bill to a negotiating committee to strip out the penalties.

— Liability insurance: Passed by the House 33-29 — with the barest majority possible — House Bill 1270 would require gun owners to also hold liability insurance that covers injury, death or property damage caused by “any accidental or unintentional discharge of the firearm.” Supporters say most people with homeowners or renters insurance likely already have coverage. The bill now goes to the Senate.

— Tax on guns and ammo: Passed by the House 44-18, House Bill 1349 proposes to ask voters in November whether the state should apply a 9% excise tax on ammo vendors, gun dealers and firearms manufacturers. The first $35 million raised from the tax would go to crime victim service grants, with the next $20 million split between schools and mental health services. The bill now goes to the Senate.

— Gun dealer licensure: Passed by the House 40-21, under House Bill 1353, retail gun dealers — who already need federal licenses — would need a state permit, too. Supporters argue that federal authorities lack the resources to adequately investigate potential violations of state or federal law. The bill also would require shop owners and employees to undergo training to better secure the weapons and to spot potentially illegal sales. The bill now moves to the Senate.

During debate of the licensure bill, House Republicans, who uniformly opposed it, accused Democrats of focusing on law-abiding gun dealers.

The measure fits into other legislation being pursued by Democrats this year. That includes a bill to direct more money to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations to monitor illegal gun sales and other, potentially unlawful activity. The licenses required under the bill would also be in jeopardy under the proposed assault weapons ban, if gun dealers violate its provisions (and if the ban becomes law).


©2024 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus