A bill requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to authorities within a five-day window passed the Colorado House on Monday.
It is the first piece of gun legislation to be this close to the finish line in the 2021 Colorado Legislative session, and comes two weeks after the Boulder mass shooting at a King Soopers that killed 10 people.
In a last-minute amendment, the bill was renamed after 21-year-old Isabella Joy Thallas, who was fatally shot in June by a man who stole the gun he used from a Denver police officer’s home. Because of the amended name, the measure must receive one final approval from the Senate before it’s sent to Gov. Jared Polis.
The legislation, which passed Monday on a party-line vote of 41-24, would make the first failure to report a lost or stolen gun a civil infraction that’s punishable by a $25 fine. Other offenses would be Class 3 misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of $500.
After the vote, Ana Thallas, Isabella’s mother, said she had mixed feelings, saying her daughter shouldn’t have to be dead to make change. Thallas said she wants people to remember her daughter’s “forgiving spirit, kind heart, her brilliant mind, her resilience and how beautiful she was,” and she hopes that this bill will protect more lives.
Democratic Reps. Leslie Herod of Denver and Tom Sullivan of Centennial urged lawmakers to put aside party politics and vote in favor of the bill. Herod noted some Democrats opposed its introduction last year.
Sullivan, who lost his son in the Aurora theater shooting, cited the results of a Keating Research poll that showed 87% of voters surveyed in December 2018 supported a law to require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to police. He also said communities are tired of mass shootings in the state.
“They’re going to be looking to us to see what we are going to do,” he said. “Are we listening to them?”
Republican lawmakers all voted against the bill. Only GOP Rep. Shane Sandridge of Colorado Springs voted for the renaming, but against the bill itself. He said it’s unclear whether this bill would have made a difference for Thallas, and believes the likely changes to the state’s gun laws held in the bill are a violation of the Second Amendment.
“There’s issues with the bill that my constituents had concerns about (like) keeping more stringent records of people who own guns,” he said.
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