The Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after Colorado lawmakers introduced HB20-1355, which would require firearms that a juvenile or prohibited person might be able to access to be securely stored when not under the control of the gun owner, and HB20-1356, which would require gun owners to report to law enforcement when a gun is lost or stolen:
“These policies promote responsible gun ownership, and they would be critical steps toward preventing unintentional shootings and stolen guns being used in crimes,” said Kathleen Charles, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re grateful to see our lawmakers introduce these important bills, and we’ll work tirelessly to ensure they become law.”
Secure firearm storage reduces the risk of gun violence, particularly among children, by helping to prevent unintentional shootings and gun suicides. Firearms are the second leading cause of death among children and teens in Colorado. In Colorado, an average of 51 children and teens die by guns every year, and 63 percent of these deaths are suicide. Gun suicides among children and teens in Colorado have increased 61 percent from 2009 to 2018.
Recently, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a resolution to require information be sent home with students to educate parents on their responsibility to securely store firearms they own. Parents or guardians need to sign and return the letter acknowledging they have read the information.
According to the #NotAnAccident Index, which tracks unintentional shootings by children since 2015, nearly 350 American children under the age of 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else each year — equalling almost one unintentional shooting per day. Additionally, more than 630 children die by gun suicide each year, most often using guns belonging to a family member. A 2019 study estimated that if half of households with children switched from leaving their guns unlocked to responsibly storing them all locked, one-third of youth gun suicides and unintentional deaths could be prevented – saving an estimated 251 lives in a single year.
More information about secure storage legislation here. Statistics about gun violence in Colorado are available here, and information on how Colorado’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.