Action Comes Just One Week After Colorado Governor Polis Signed Historic Gun Safety Package.
DENVER — The Colorado chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Colorado lawmakers today passed legislation to address the threat of ghost guns — unserialized, untraceable homemade firearms, the building blocks of which can be obtained without a background check. Senate Bill 23-279 will ensure that all firearms are serialized, which will better allow law enforcement to trace firearms used in crimes. The legislation also bans “machine gun conversion devices,” which can be used to convert semi-automatic firearms into fully-automatic machine guns. The bill now heads to Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ desk to be signed into law.
“Ghost guns pose a serious threat to our communities, make it easy for people with dangerous histories to access guns, and make it nearly impossible to hold perpetrators of violence accountable,” said Emily Suyat, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill will help protect Colorado communities from gun violence and save lives. We’re grateful to our lawmakers for prioritizing this bill, which addresses one of the nation’s fastest growing gun safety threats.”
“My generation is bearing the burden of our gun violence crisis — but we’re also leading the fight to end it,” said Clara Taub, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Colorado and co-lead for Denver East High School Students Demand Action. “Today, Colorado lawmakers are showing that gun safety is their priority. While passing this bill is a historic step, we know the fight is not over. We will continue advocating to make necessary change and show Americans what it means to turn anger into action and hope into progress.”
“Passing legislation to regulate ghost guns is yet another massive victory for gun safety and it’s further proof of the political powerhouse that Colorado Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have become,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “For years, volunteers and survivors of gun violence have shown up and testified at hearings, sent hundreds of calls and emails to lawmakers, students have marched out of school and returned day after day to demand they deserve better than fearing for their lives at school. Passing this fifth lifesaving gun safety bill this session is proof that the unglamorous heavy lifting of grassroots advocacy drives change.”
Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing our country. Ghost guns are impossible to trace, and across the country, law enforcement officers are recovering increasing numbers of homemade, unserialized guns from people who are legally prohibited from having guns. More than 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity in 114 federal cases from 2010 to April 2020. ATF officials estimated that approximately 10,000 ghost guns were recovered across the U.S. in 2019.
SB23-279 passed just one week after Governor Polis signed four critical gun violence prevention bills into law. Those life-saving measures will strengthen Colorado’s Extreme Risk law, raise the age for purchase of a firearm to 21, hold bad actors in the gun industry accountable for their role in our nation’s gun violence crisis, and set a mandatory waiting period for purchasing a firearm.
In an average year, 930 people die and 466 are wounded by guns in Colorado. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Colorado, and an average of 79 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 51% are suicides and 45% are homicides. Gun violence in Colorado costs $2,039 per resident each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Colorado $11.7 billion each year, of which $156.1 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Colorado is available here.