Yesterday, just one day after Colorado was devastated by a mass shooting in Boulder at a grocery store in which ten people were shot and killed, including one police officer, the Colorado House Judiciary Committee advanced SB21-078, which would require gun owners to report to law enforcement when a gun is lost or stolen.
The shooting in Boulder is just the latest instance of gun violence to devastate Colorado — in an average year, 805 people die by gun violence in Colorado and 360 more are wounded.
SB21-078 would help save lives and prevent gun violence by requiring the reporting of lost and stolen firearms, which are often used in crimes or end up in the hands of those who mean to harm themselves or others. The legislature is also considering HB21-1106, which would require secure storage of firearms and would reduce the risk of gun violence, particularly among children.
“Our hearts have been broken this week,” said Christa Palmer, volunteer with Colorado Moms Demand Action. “And though this legislation won’t bring back the ten souls tragically taken on Monday, I’m proud to see our lawmakers are offering more than thoughts and prayers– they’re taking action to protect us and prevent more gun violence. We thank the House Committee for their action this week.”
“If the last week doesn’t prove that gun violence is an epidemic in our state and country, I don’t know what does,” said Devon Romero, a volunteer with Students Demand Action at the University of Colorado Boulder. “The tragedy Colorado endured this week was a painful reminder of the urgency of our gun violence crisis. The House Committee took an important step to keep our communities safer from the scourge of gun violence.”
What to know about lost and stolen firearms:
- Gun thefts occur in staggering numbers. Hundreds of thousands of guns are stolen every year, taken from houses, vehicles, and stores.
- Gun thefts often divert guns into an underground market where people with dangerous histories are easily able to obtain firearms without restriction. That is why stolen guns are often recovered at crime scenes, including at the scenes of homicides and other violent crimes. The majority of the 23,000 stolen firearms recovered by police between 2010 and 2016 were recovered in connection with crimes, including more than 1,500 violent acts.
- Research suggests that individuals who are prohibited from possessing guns may utilize the underground market to obtain guns, since they are unable to purchase them legally.
More information about secure storage legislation is here, and information about the risk of stolen guns here. Statistics about gun violence in Colorado are available here, and information on how Colorado’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.