Colorado House passes firearms safe-storage legislation

Colorado’s Democrat-controlled House on Tuesday advanced legislation requiring firearms to be securely stored to prevent unauthorized youth and other persons from accessing them.

The 40-25 vote, virtually along party lines, came after 10 hours of debate on Monday in which Democrats repeatedly rejected efforts by Republican lawmakers to modify the measure.

Dejected Republicans questioned before the vote whether the bill would correct conduct by responsible gun owners or seek to criminalize them.

Under the measure, misdemeanor violations could carry fines of $250 to $1,000. The bill also requires licensed gun dealers to provide locking devices when selling or transferring firearms. Noncompliance would be a misdemeanors with fines of up to $500.

About 31 Colorado teens and young adults under 20 on average have been involved in firearm suicides annually, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

Republicans insisted the bill could prevent responsible gun owners from quickly accessing their weapons during emergencies.

“I can’t believe that none of the good ideas (presented by Republicans) weren’t good enough,” said House minority leader Rep. Hugh McKean.

Only one amendment, by GOP Rep. Terri Carver, was adopted. It provides for education on safe storage of guns outside of homes.

Democratic Reps. Kyle Mullica and Monica Duran, the bill’s House sponsors, argued the bill would help reduce suicides by youth and others and accidental shootings.

A 2017 study analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System found that across the U.S., approximately 19 children a day die or are medically treated for gunshot wounds.

Tuesday’s vote sends the bill to the Democrat-controlled Colorado Senate.

Senators advanced a separate bill Tuesday that would require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms or face $25 fines.

Sponsored by Democratic Sens. Jessie Danielson and Sonya Jaquez Lewis, the bill states that subsequent violations would be considered misdemeanors punishable by fines of $50 to $750, and the possibility of six months in jail as a maximum penalty.

A final Senate vote would send that bill to the House.

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