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A gun lock on a pistol at the Meriden Police Department, June 21, 2019. (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP)

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday signed two bills tightening gun regulations in Colorado into law — the first new firearm restrictions enacted in the state since the red flag bill became law in 2019. 

The legislation was introduced before the deadly attack on a Boulder King Soopers in March, though the shootings brought greater urgency to the measures, which are mainly focused on reducing gun-related suicides.

Other gun control bills are expected to be debated at the legislature later this year.

The legislation signed into law on Monday, which passed the General Assembly without any Republican support, will affect all gun owners in Colorado. 

Here’s what you need to know about the bills:

House Bill 1106

Starting on July 1, Coloradans who own guns will be required to store their weapons in a gun safe or with a trigger or cable lock when the owner knows or should reasonably know that a “juvenile or a resident who is ineligible to possess a firearm can gain access to the firearm.”

The guns don’t have to be stored in a safe or with a trigger or cable lock if the owner is carrying the weapon or if they place it in a “secure container which a reasonable person would believe to be secure.” Antique firearms are also exempt from the law. 

Violators of the new law could face a Class 2 misdemeanor offense, which carries penalties of fines and, in rare instances, jail time. People charged with the crime can argue that the gun wasn’t safely stored because a juvenile needed to gain access to the weapon for the purpose of self defense or to defend livestock. 

The new law also requires licensed gun dealers to provide a trigger or cable lock with each firearm they sell or transfer, except for when it comes to the sale or transfer of antique firearms. They also must post a conspicuous safe-storage notice, to be developed by the state’s health department, in their shop.

Gov. Jared Polis signs House Bill 1106 into law on Monday, April 19, 2021. He was surrounded by the Democratic state lawmakers who championed the measure. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

To meet the notice requirement, gun shops may also post a sign saying: “UNLAWFUL STORAGE OF A FIREARM MAY RESULT IN IMPRISONMENT OR FINE.”

A licensed gun dealer who does not provide a locking device or post the required notice commits an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. 

House Bill 1106 also requires the state court administrator for several years to submit annual reports to the General Assembly on the number of charges brought in each judicial district for the new offenses starting on July 31, 2022. 

Senate Bill 78

The bill requires gun owners to report a lost or stolen firearm to law enforcement within five days of realizing the weapon is missing.

Failing to report a lost or stolen firearm is a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. A second or subsequent infraction is an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $500. 

Gov. Jared Polis signs Senate Bill 78 into law on Monday, April 19, 2021. He was surrounded by Democratic state lawmakers who championed the measure, as well as the family and boyfriend of Isabella Thallas. Police sayThallas was killed by a rifle stolen from a Denver police sergeant. Senate Bill 78 was named after Thallas in her memory. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Law enforcement agencies that receive a report of a lost or stolen gun must enter available descriptive information about the weapon into the Colorado Bureau of Investigations Crime Information Center Database.

The law takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns its 2021 lawmaking term, which is planned for June. That likely means the law goes into effect in mid-September.

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....