Update: The two bills referenced in the article were scheduled for this Saturday, May 29. On Thursday evening it was announced the legislative session has been paused Friday and Saturday due to protests around the state capitol. Complete Colorado will update the story as information becomes available.
DENVER–After a long delay thanks to the COVID-19 virus, the Democrat-controlled Colorado legislature is back at work.
In an unusual Saturday session the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee will act on two gun-related bills in the Old State Library, room 271 in the Capitol upon adjournment of the House floor session.
House Bill 20-1355 makes it a crime to not store a firearm in such a way that juveniles cannot access or use the firearm without permission of the parent or guardian. It also makes it a crime to store a firearm in a manner that allows a person ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law to do so. There is no exception for such persons to lawfully possess a firearm in a self-defense situation as there is regarding juvenile possession of a firearm, something the bill explicitly authorizes.
Additionally, it requires a licensed gun dealer to provide a “locking device capable of securing the firearm” each time the firearm is “sold or otherwise transferred.” Failing to do so is an “unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine.”
The bill also requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment “to develop and implement a firearms storage education campaign to educate the public about the safe storage of firearms and state requirements related to firearms safety and storage.”
House Bill 20-1356 makes it a crime to fail to report loss or theft of a firearm within 48 hours after the loss or theft is discovered. The bill makes it a “petty offense punishable by a twenty-five dollar fine and a second or subsequent offense is a class 3 misdemeanor.”
The bill fails to address Fifth Amendment self-incrimination issues that protect gun owners from being compelled to incriminate themselves if they miss the 48 hour deadline for reporting.
This is the first hearing for both bills.
Public testimony will be taken both in person at the hearing and may also be submitted in writing through a new portal on the general assembly’s website. Interested persons may sign up to speak in person at the hearing on the same link above.
Written testimony may be submitted at any time, including during the hearing, up to the end of the committee hearing in order to be made part of the public record. Testimony submitted after the hearing is adjourned will not be included in the public record.
No remote testimony will be taken, and all members of the committee are required to be in the room. Recently passed resolutions authorizing remote participation by legislators for other matters do not include public hearings by committees of reference.