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Colorado Governor Signs Legislation to Better Protect Colorado Communities from Gun Violence

Washington, DC —  Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, praised Colorado Governor Jared Polis for signing a package of bills that will save lives from gun violence in Colorado. Following the tragic shooting in Boulder, and amidst  mass shootings across the country, the Colorado Legislature and Governor Polis demonstrated tremendous courage to fight gun violence with the enactment of this legislation. The three new laws will strengthen background checks, reform a preemption law to allow localities to adopt their own gun safety laws, and establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention to promote public education about laws and resources available to help prevent gun violence, as well as authorize a violence intervention grant program.

“Coloradans tragically know the toll that gun violence takes on communities and families, with the recent mass shooting in Boulder serving as a stark reminder that more progress is needed on gun safety,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “Governor Polis and lawmakers across Colorado have taken clear, decisive action to address gun violence, and these bills will unquestionably save lives. With courage, it is possible to turn tragedy into action.”

“As a responsible gun owner in Colorado, I was proud to testify in support of these bills and I am glad to see our state prioritize common sense gun safety measures. Governor Polis’ decision to sign these bills is a critical step towards a Colorado where families can live without fear of gun violence everyday,” said Vic Bencomo, President of Giffords Gun Owners for Safety Colorado chapter. “Our leaders understand our work to stop gun violence is not over, but this is a step in the right direction. We thank the Governor for taking the next step to a safer Colorado by leading with action.”   

The bills signed by Governor Polis will: 

  • Block people from passing background checks for five years after they have been convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, including hate crimes. 
  • Close the “Charleston Loophole” by ensuring that people prohibited from possessing firearms are not able to obtain them by default because of an incomplete background check. 
  • Revise the state preemption laws to make it clear that localities can generally enact local gun safety ordinances tailored to the needs of their communities. 
  • Establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention to promote public awareness and education about gun safety laws and resources available to help prevent gun violence, including extreme risk and domestic violence protection orders. The Office would also be authorized to oversee grants for community violence intervention programs and support access to data and research about gun violence’s causes and solutions.

According to Giffords Law Center’sAnnual Gun Law Scorecard, Colorado received a C+ due to its significant recent progress on gun safety. Last month, Colorado enacted two new laws that would require the reporting of lost and stolen firearms and the safe storage of firearms. In 2019, Colorado passed an extreme risk protection order law, facilitating the temporary removal of firearms from people found, through a court process, to present an extreme risk of violence. In 2017, Colorado had the 24th-highest gun death rate among the states, and exported roughly the same number of crime guns it imported.