CO Gun Bills Expose Glaring Assault On Victims Rights After Floor Debate Amendments Fail

CO Gun Bills Expose Glaring Assault On Victims Rights After Floor Debate Amendments Fail

 

This past week, two Colorado gun control bills have been rapidly making their way through the state legislature. While HB21-1106: Mandatory Safe Storage of Firearms originated in the house, SB21-078: Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Guns was introduced in the senate, both on Feb 16, 2021. This was undoubtedly a strategic move to keep gun rights activists chasing the zig zag between the two chambers. It culminated Tuesday morning when Lost and Stolen Guns was being heard in the senate, while Safe Storage was on third reading in the house. Both passed their respective hearings. Safe Storage will move on to the State Senate where the process will begin again and it must pass before landing on the governor’s desk, and Lost and Stolen guns will be heard for it’s final vote in the senate Wednesday morning before moving on to the State House of Representatives.

Confused yet?  Yeah…that was intentional on their part. Long story short, both bills continue to move forward – and fast.

Debate on Mandatory Safe Storage on the house floor went for nearly 10 hours with 27 amendments being offered by Republicans, all but one amendment was voted down. You can watch the debate here and part 2 here. Debate on Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Guns went relatively fast, lasting about an hour, with three amendments being offered, all rejected. You can watch that one here.

One thing became glaringly obvious while watching debate on these bills coupled with the rejection of amendment after amendment: gun owners lives do not matter to the gun grabbing Democrats down at the state capitol. The vote was along party lines with one Democrat joining Republicans in their efforts.

The Assault On Victim’s Rights

During both the debate on Safe Storage as well as Lost and Stolen Guns, amendments were put forth to protect victims of crime.

The following amendments were struck down by Democrats:

Amendment L-054 would have made it impossible for a person to be charged with the qualifying Class 2 Misdemeanor if the discovery of an unlocked firearm happened during a lawful entrance into a person’s home, such as during the commission of a crime against the person. For example: a woman is the victim of domestic violence in her own home, and police arrive at the scene. Upon entering the home they find a handgun on the kitchen table which had been used in her assault. There is a one year old toddler in the home. This domestic violence victim is now a criminal for not keeping the firearm locked up even if not at her own hands. This amendment was rejected along party lines.

Another amendment would have exempted persons from Safe Storage requirements who have active restraining orders against another person because they are in imminent danger.  Struck down by Democrats. If you are in such imminent danger even the courts agree, too bad, keep that gun locked up and inaccessible, call the police, that’s their solution.

And yet another amendment would have exempted gun owners in the event a juvenile trespasses onto their property and steals a firearm. Doesn’t matter. If you live alone with your cat and never have another person in your home, YOU will be held responsible for the crime another person commits in breaking into your home and stealing your property, and be slapped with a Class 2 Misdemeanor for not locking up your guns.

During the Lost and Stolen Guns debate three amendments were presented.  These amendments stated that if the firearm was stolen during an incident in which the person or a member of the persons immediate family was a victim of homicide (amendment 1), or a victim of kidnapping (amendment 2), or a victim of sexual assault (amendment 3) they would be exempt from the 5 day day reporting requirement. This is because rational people understand that when such trauma happens, reporting a gun lost or stolen is unlikely at the top of their priority list and during times of grief and/or processing the trauma, this can easily be overlooked or even create more trauma for the victim. All three of these amendments failed.

Yet another amendment offered and rejected would have given a gun owner or their family an avenue to sue the state if one is injured or killed while being unable to protect themselves due to the requirement to keep their guns “safely stored” where they are much more inaccessible should the need for self defense arise.  Funny the same party who preaches putting an end to qualified immunity would reject such a measure.

Last but not least, three amendments were presented that would have provided 7 days (amendment 1), then 3 days (amendment 2), and finally 24 hours (amendment 3) to come into compliance if found to be in violation of this new law that has no funding for the educational campaign. Those not paying attention are expected to “just know”.

They Also Reject Gun Owners Being Involved In Educational Campaign Development

An amendment was voted down that would have required the development of the Safe Storage educational campaign to include consultation with the Division of Criminal Justice and Public Safety, non-profit organizations that provide firearms safety education and training, members of the firearm industry, including manufacturers, dealers and importers, along with other experts in firearm safety. Because to them, it makes no sense to have stakeholders at the table who will actually be affected by this law and understand how to connect with gun owners.

Another amendment would have added a requirement that all 7th graders complete a firearms safety course, something that would help immensely with accidental shootings.

Exempting law enforcement officers, veterans, active duty military, and similar from Safe Storage was another amendment killed.

This was followed by an amendment that would have given some teeth to the Second Amendment Sanctuary counties who tend to be immune to many of the firearm crime issues that plague more urban areas such as school shootings and gun theft.

One Amendment Did Pass

The one amendment that DID pass will require information about organizations such as Hold My Guns and other community programs that allow firearm owners to voluntarily and temporarily store firearms at a secure location outside of the home in times of crisis be part of the unfunded educational campaign.

You can follow these bills and others, find legislator contact info, and even sign up to provide public comment at our Legislative Watch page.

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The Problem With “Mandatory Reporting Of Lost & Stolen Guns” Laws

The Problem With "Mandatory Reporting Of Lost & Stolen Guns" Laws : Rally for our Rights Colorado


CALL TO ACTION: This bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, March 4th, 1:30pm at the Colorado State Capitol.

Register to provide public comment (testimony) in-person or remote. Full instructions to do so can be found here. It’s easy and it’s empowering!  

CLICK HERE to email the entire Senate Judiciary Committee at once and ask they oppose this bill.

As gun control organizations rally activists and politicians alike to push their agenda, it’s always clear which bills are part of a larger gun control agenda because they pop up in every state. Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms is one of them, which has been introduced here in Colorado this legislative session.

SB21-078 sounds so benign it gets little opposition and even gun owners regularly say they don’t see an issue with it. I’ve never met a gun owner who took issue with reporting stolen guns to the police, and honestly, they really don’t “lose” them at all (boating accidents aside, of course).

But in reality, there are some glaring problems with such a law.

This particular bill makes it a petty offense with a fine of $25 if you don’t report a stolen or lost firearm to police within 5 days and any subsequent non-reporting offenses are a class 2 misdemeanor. The person reporting the theft or loss must provide the following info: the manufacturer, model, serial number, caliber, and any other identification number of distinguishing marks. From there, within 5 days, law enforcement must add the firearm information into CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigations) and NCIC (National Crime Information Center – FBI) as directed. Even this wreaks eerily of a back door registry.

Here’s the thing, legal gun owners already report firearm theft voluntarily, even providing all the identifying information if they have it. And law enforcement typically gets the firearm information to the CBI who then adds it to NCIC within 24-48 hours, not even the 5 days the bill requires, but less. The issue doesn’t lie in the reporting, the issue lies in the recovery of the firearms. Law enforcement rarely tries to actively recover firearms, instead they wait to find them in the commission of another crime. Why not tackle this instead?  It would likely be supported by gun owners who want their firearms back (and definitely do not want them used to cause harm) and gun control advocates who claim to want to reduce “gun violence” alike, and would do far more to stop crimes committed with firearms and truly make our streets safer.

You know who won’t report their guns lost or stolen? People who are already prohibited from owning them, the same people who don’t report them now. This law won’t change that. It will honestly change little, if anything at all, when it comes to reporting.

What I actually find most concerning about this bill is the coupling of it with Mandatory Safe Storage of Firearms, which was introduced the same day and is already making it’s way quickly through the state house. When you report a gun stolen, will the next question be why you didn’t have it locked up? The penalty for not reporting the firearm stolen is a petty offense of $25. Not properly storing a firearm securely is a class 2 misdemeanor. In reporting a gun stolen, will gun owners be incriminating themselves of another crime? And would this actually deter gun owners from reporting their guns stolen? In this scenario with both bills becoming law, does the Lost and Stolen Firearms bill actually violate the Fifth Amendment, the right to remain silent? The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects a person from being compelled to incriminate oneself and is a bedrock of our justice system.

Lastly, let’s do a little study of our own by looking at two states in 2020, New York and California, which have very strict “common-sense” gun laws to include Mandatory Loss and Theft Reporting. In New York City, shootings are up 97%, homicide up 44%. In California, in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, Oakland, historic levels of gang shootings and gun homicides. So why aren’t these “common-sense” gun laws working?

All that aside, this bill threatens to criminalize victims and the state has no authority over the private property we own.

Follow our Legislative Watch page for more information about this and other firearm related bills, including when and how to provide public comment, who to contact, and when and where to watch the debate and votes.

 

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