Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signs two gun bills into law

Less than a month after 10 people were fatally shot at a Boulder King Soopers, Gov. Jared Polis signed two gun bills into law on Monday.

One, HB 21-1106, requires people to secure their firearms when they’re not in use or face a Class 2 misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. The other, SB 21-078, mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported to authorities within five days or face a civil infraction of a $25 fine or a misdemeanor (carrying a fine of up to $500).

Polis called the measures common-sense action and “best practice for responsible gun owners.”

The lost or stolen firearms bill, named the Isabella Joy Thallas Act after a 21-year-old woman who was fatally shot in Denver by a man who stole a police sergeant’s personal firearm, takes effect 90 days after the 2021 legislative session adjourns.

“It’s the right thing we do for the people we care about,” Polis said. “Many Coloradans already report lost or stolen guns. Now they have to. In many cases, this opportunity to save a life is just a phone call away.”

The safe storage law starts July 1. Polis said responsible gun owners know it’s important to store a weapon safely “so kids can’t get a hold of them with a tragic outcome.”

No Republicans in the General Assembly supported either bill, saying they infringe on gun owners’ rights and criminalize gun owners.

The legislature is considering at least one more gun bill. HB 21-1255, which received its first hearing last week, would strengthen a 2013 law to strip people charged with domestic violence of their guns.

Democrats have said they plan to introduce other gun legislation, but aren’t quite sure what that’ll end up being, though they’ve floated increasing the number of days in mandatory waiting periods, closing background-check loopholes and allowing local governments to have stronger gun restrictions than the state’s laws.

“The tragedy in Boulder just heightened the focus on needing to improve gun safety in the state,” said Sen. Chris Hansen, a sponsor of the safe storage bill and Denver Democrat. “It’s not to say that either of these bills are a solution to what happened in Boulder, but they do contribute to improving the culture of safety around guns in Colorado.

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