Introduction Comes Just Weeks After Colorado Lawmakers Passed Historic Gun Safety Package.
The Colorado chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Colorado lawmakers introduced legislation to address the threat of ghost guns — unserialized, untraceable homemade firearms, the building blocks of which can be obtained without a background check. Senate Bill 23-279, sponsored by Senators Rhonda Fields and Chris Hansen and Representatives Andrew Boesenecker and Junie Joseph, will ensure that all firearms are serialized, which would better allow law enforcement to trace firearms used in crimes. The legislation also bans “machine gun conversion devices,” which can be used to dramatically increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic firearms.
“Ghost guns pose a serious threat to our communities and make it nearly impossible to hold perpetrators of violence accountable,” said Emily Suyat , a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill will give law enforcement officers the tools they need to better protect Colorado communities from gun violence and take real steps towards saving lives. We’re grateful to our lawmakers for introducing this bill, and we will continue advocating alongside them to fight for gun safety.”
Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing our country. Ghost guns are impossible to trace, and across the country, law enforcement officers are recovering increasing numbers of homemade, unserialized guns from people who are legally prohibited from having guns. More than 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity in 114 federal cases from 2010 to April 2020. ATF officials estimated that approximately 10,000 ghost guns were recovered across the U.S. in 2019.
The introduction of SB23-79 comes just weeks after Colorado lawmakers passed a package of four critical gun violence prevention bills. The bills are now waiting to be signed into law by Colorado Governor Jared Polis The life-saving measures seek to strengthen Colorado’s Extreme Risk law, raise the age for purchase of a firearm, hold the gun industry accountable for its role in our nation’s gun violence crisis, and set a mandatory waiting period for purchasing a firearm.
In an average year, 930 people die and 466 are wounded by guns in Colorado. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Colorado, and an average of 79 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 51% are suicides and 45% are homicides. Gun violence in Colorado costs $2,039 per resident each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Colorado $11.7 billion each year, of which $156.1 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Colorado is available here.