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.