A Bill requiring Colorado homeowners to securely store their weapons in certain living situations has passed its first committee. The Bill would make it a misdemeanor to not safely secure weapons in living situations that include juveniles and people in the home who are ineligible to own firearms. HB21-1106 has sparked opinions from both ends of the political spectrum. Those who in support believe the Bill will lower the number of accidental shootings and youth suicide rates.
New Colorado Gun Bill A “No Brainer?”
Dr. Maya Haasz spoke on behalf of Children’s Hospital Colorado testifying about the many cases of gunshot wounds she experienced during her time as a physician of pediatric emergency medicine. “The cry of any parent whose toddler has died is agonizing,” Haasz said. “When the toddler has been fatally shot playing with a sibling, when that death was entirely avoidable, the added layers of guilt and what-ifs add a new, almost tangible level of pain for everyone involved.” Democratic representatives, Monica Duran and Kyle Mullica, introduced the Bill. “This is about accident prevention,” Duran said. “And this is about saving lives.” Mullica commented on what would be considered safe storage. “Obviously, storing it in a safe would count as safe storage,” said Mullica. “A trigger lock or a cable lock counts as safe storage.”
Littleton, Colorado has passed a similar ordinance requiring gun store owners to lock up their inventory after hours due to gun store “smash and grabs” being on the rise. Viewers sent in comment to the Denver7 inbox saying things like they “support LittleRock’s decision” and called it a “no brainer.” Others were not happy with the new ordinance saying “So the city’s plan is to punish the victim of a crime while not bothering to try and find the actual criminals?” Old Steel Gun Shop, Giovanni Galeano, argues locking up all firearms at night would be costly and difficult to do. “It would be hard to believe that a city would want to put a business out of business.” Many gun owners practice safe storage yet accidents still happen. Many opposed to the Bill believe teaching gun safety is the most effective way to deal with these accidents.
New Colorado Gun Bill Unconstitutional
Those against the Bill such as Erik Stone, a Teller County Commissioner and NRA-certified firearms instructor, believe the focus should be on teaching juveniles gun safety because the time needed to remove a lock could create a situation in which the gun is now useless for home defense. “In firearms classes, we actually talk about, first safety, always safety, that’s how you prevent firearms accidents. You don’t do it by creating laws that have penalties after an accident occurs. It’s completely ineffective.” “This bill is an egregious violation on our constitutional rights,” said Greg Trout during a committee hearing at the Colorado State Capitol. “It would give criminals an advantage when breaking into our homes and businesses. It gives them critical time to break through the door and perpetrate that crime.” The biggest question surrounding the Bill is whether the courts would find it constitutional. During District of Columbia v. Heller decision in 2008 the Supreme Court got rid of a law in Washington D.C. that required handguns to be stored disassembled or with a trigger lock. Supporters of the bill argued that the court’s problem with D.C.’s law was its wording didn’t allow gun owners to have a working weapon for self-defense. “This makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional,” wrote Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia.
Mullica and Duran argue this is not a gun grab or about infringing on anyone’s rights. Duran says, “You talk to a majority of gun owners and they believe in safe storage. But the fact is there are kids still getting hurt.” Do you believe HB21-1106 would be more effective than educating children about gun safety? Will the Bill help lower the number of firearm related accidents if it is passed through Colorado legislation?