Colorado governor signs gun storage, lost weapons bills into law

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, signs into law a bill from the state senate to tighten gun regulations Monday, April 19, 2021, in Denver. The governor signed two bills into law to tighten gun regulations, the first new firearm restrictions enacted in Colorado since the red flag bill became law in 2019. (Jesse Aaron Paul/Colorado Sun via AP)

DENVER (AP) — Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law bills mandating the safe storage of firearms and requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons.

Democrat sponsors argued the storage bill would help reduce suicides by youth and others, as well as accidental shootings. Republicans questioned whether the bill was intended to criminalize responsible gun owners.

The bill creates the offense of unlawful storage of a firearm if a person stores a gun knowing a youth or ineligible resident of the premises can access it without permission. The initiative is one of several being considered or adopted nationwide.

“It’s a sensible measure to help avoid immeasurable heartbreak,” Polis said.

The Democratic governor also signed into law legislation requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement or face a $25 fine for a first violation. Police agencies would report missing firearms to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, which shares information to law enforcement nationwide.

The bill’s sponsors argued it would help law enforcement recover missing weapons, fight firearms trafficking and reduce gun violence. Republicans questioned how the bill would reduce gun violence if a missing weapon is already on the streets.

The Democrat-led Legislature passed the bills along party lines.