Colorado Governor Signs Bill Allowing Cities to Set Their Own Gun-Control Laws

June 20, 2021 Updated: June 22, 2021

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on June 19 signed several gun-control bills into law, including one that allows cities and municipalities in the state to set their own gun regulations.

Previous state law prohibited local governments from enacting an ordinance, regulation, or another law that prohibited the sale, purchase, or ownership of a gun. The new law now gives municipalities more jurisdiction in setting their own laws on firearms, but those regulations can’t be more lenient than Colorado state law.

Declaring “that the regulation of firearms is a matter of state and local concern,” the bill says that “local law may only impose a criminal penalty for a violation upon a person who knew or reasonably should have known that the person’s conduct was prohibited.”

A second measure signed by Polis requires the state’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention to carry out public awareness campaigns to “educate the general public” about firearms.

The governor also signed a third statute over the weekend that prohibits gun dealers from transferring firearms to another individual who hasn’t undergone a successful background check or was convicted of several specified misdemeanor offenses.

“Recent tragedies around Colorado and the country demand quick and decisive action,” Polis, a Democrat, said in a statement June 19. “Together, these measures will make our communities safer, keep firearms out of the hands of those who would do harm to themselves or others, and get those in crisis help as soon as possible.”

The flurry of legislative action on guns came after a gunman on March 22, identified later as Syrian-born Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, allegedly opened fire on a supermarket in Boulder, killing 10 people, including a police officer. Weeks later, another mass shooting left six dead in Colorado Springs, and officials identified the suspect as 28-year-old Teodoro Macias, the disgruntled ex-boyfriend of one of the six.

When Democrats in Colorado’s Legislature proposed the bills in March, the National Rifle Association (NRA) said the measures were pushed “despite thousands of calls and emails from NRA members and Second Amendment supporters” who oppose them.

The law that allows cities to create their own gun laws was panned by the NRA, which said it would generate “a confusing patchwork of laws that are difficult to know and obey” as well as the “an expansion of arbitrary boundaries where law-abiding citizens are left defenseless.”

But Colorado Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, a Democrat, suggested during the signing event that more gun-control bills may be introduced.

“Although the topic of these three bills are about pain, and loss, and trauma, I’m here today grounded in hope. I’m hopeful because step by step, bill by bill, we here in Colorado are creating safer communities,” he said.

Officials at the pro-Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.