These are all of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Marijuana bills proposed in the 2021 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, Major, Medium, Minor+, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

House

Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:

MEGA

HB21-1298 Expand Firearm Transfer Background Check Requirements PASSED AMENDED

MAJOR

HB21-1038 Concealed Handguns On School Grounds KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB21-1070 Repeal Ammunition Magazine Prohibition KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB21-1082 Gun Transfer Background Check Permit Exemption KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB21-1106 Safe Storage Of Firearms SIGNED INTO LAW
HB21-1255 Protection Order Issued Against Domestic Abuser PASSED AMENDED
HB21-1317 Regulating Marijuana Concentrates PASSED AMENDED

MEDIUM

HB21-1090 Criminal Marijuana Offenses SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB21-1098 Civil Liability For Extreme Risk Protection Orders KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE (CATEGORY CHANGE)
HB21-1185 Repeal Government Firearms Regulations And Training Class Regulation KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE
HB21-1299 Office Of Gun Violence Prevention PASSED AMENDED

MINOR+

HB21-1027 Continue Alcohol Beverage Takeout And Delivery PASSED AMENDED
HB21-1159 Limitations On Regulated Marijuana Delivery KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

MINOR

HB21-1044 Winery License Include Noncontiguous Areas SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
HB21-1058 Promoting Social Distancing In Marijuana Industry KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE AMENDED
HB21-1204 Unemployment Insurance Marijuana-licensed Business SIGNED INTO LAW
HB21-1216 Marijuana Licensees Ability To Change Designation PASSED AMENDED
HB21-1301 Cannabis Outdoor Cultivation Measures PASSED AMENDED

TECHNICAL

HB21-1178 Correcting Errors in the Colorado Marijuana Code SIGNED INTO LAW

Senate

Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:

MEGA

SB21-256 Local Regulation Of Firearms PASSED AMENDED

MAJOR

MEDIUM

SB21-078 Lost Or Stolen Firearms SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB21-134 Retail Liquor Stores Additional Licenses KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

MINOR+

SB21-056 Expand Cannabis-based Medicine At Schools SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB21-082 Alcohol Beverage Festival For Tastings And Sales SIGNED INTO LAW AMENDED
SB21-086 Beer Delivery By Third-party Services KILLED BY SENATE COMMITTEE
SB21-111 Program To Support Marijuana Entrepreneurs SIGNED INTO LAW

MINOR

SB21-133 Donated Alcohol Beverages For Special Events SIGNED INTO LAW VERY SIGNIFICANTLY AMENDED
SB21-270 Increase Alcohol Beverages On-premises Production PASSED

TECHNICAL

HB21-1027 Continue Alcohol Beverage Takeout And Delivery (Bridges (D), Priola (R)) [Larson (R), Roberts (D)]

PASSED

AMENDED: Moderate

Appropriation: $63,274
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Permanently Extend allowing takeout and delivery of alcohol from restaurants with some stricter restrictions that get automatically relaxed during a disaster emergency through 2026. Was set to expire in July 2022.

Description:

This permanently extends a law passed last year during the pandemic that allows those with licenses that allow them to sell alcohol for on premise consumption to sell alcohol for delivery or for takeout for consumption off-premises. Alcohol must be in a sealed container. Alcohol may be sold by the drink. Requires a specific permit, except during a disaster emergency declared by the governor. It does change some of the maximum size of alcohol allowed. Again except during a disaster emergency, limit of 750 1500 mL or 26.4 50.8 fluid ounces of wine and spirits or 72 144 fluid ounces of beer or hard cider and 1 liter of spiritious alcohol. And again, except during a disaster emergency, the seller cannot derive more than 50% of its food and alcohol beverage revenue from takeout and delivery orders. Delivery may only be done by employees over the age of 21 and must have completed server and seller training for alcohol.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • We’ve been running a massive statewide experiment on this process during the past year and it works. It does not seem to harm public safety. It provides a good service. And people like it

In Further Detail: We have basically been experimenting this since Coronavirus hit. And it turns out that allowing restaurants to deliver alcohol or sell it with takeout orders does not in fact harm public safety. Quite the contrary really, with people drinking at home rather than at a restaurant. It provides a good service. This bill allows this to continue in normal times with appropriate guardrails limiting the amount of alcohol that can be delivered, requiring a permit, and ensuring the delivery is done by a qualified adult. And during times like these, it appropriately relaxes these restrictions which helps restaurants stay in business and helps consumers get access to the adult beverages of their choice. There is no reason to have a date in the future when the program expires We should continue this program into the future.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • It is too early to draw wide conclusions, especially since we are not operating in normal times yet
  • Having provisions of law expire means they must be looked at with fresh eyes in different times and prove themselves again in order to continue. That is definitely appropriate with a dangerous and regulated good like alcohol

In Further Detail: The key word here is yet. We have yet to see any harm to public safety but not only is it very early to draw definite conclusions, we also aren’t even operating in normal times, with people moving around as they normally would. So we cannot truly say we know that this would not cause an increase in drinking and driving, as the person consuming the alcohol is away from the eyes of the restaurant employees (this would apply in particular to takeout orders). And having an expiration date on a law forces it to be re-examined in order to continue, with fresh eyes and in potentially different times. The law must prove itself worthy again in order to continue. That seems especially appropriate to something like alcohol, which is heavily regulated and potentially dangerous.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1027

HB21-1038 Concealed Handguns On School Grounds [Neville (R)]

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Removes the limitation on carrying concealed handguns (by people with valid permits to do so) on school grounds.

Description: Nothing to add

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • We need to allow people with valid concealed carry permits to protect themselves and others. Otherwise the only people at schools with guns will be the bad guys when they show up. Having a concealed carry permit means vetting by the state

In Further Detail: The elimination of the ability to have concealed guns at schools means the only people with guns at schools are bad guys, which leads to the unfortunate shootings that have become all too common being worse as there is no one the scene to intervene. A good guy with a gun on the scene could nip many of these situations in the bud, as we have seen several times in the last year where the death toll could have been higher but for the immediate intervention of a bystander who had a gun. Someone has to have a valid permit in order to do this, so they have already been vetted by the state, to carry a gun around in public situations. There are also many teachers with concealed carry permits that would like to protect their students if the need ever arose. We already trust folks with these permits, let’s let them help protect our kids.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • Civilians are not trained to react to active shooter situations and could shoot innocent bystanders by mistake. They also could shoot someone who doesn’t even have a gun by mistake, this happens enough with trained police officers already
  • Having multiple people with guns makes it difficult for police to determine who the good and bad guys are when responding to the scene
  • People are also potentially sloppy with their guns, in other states they’ve been accidentally left in bathrooms or classrooms for anyone to find

In Further Detail: Introducing guns into schools is a recipe for disaster. Civilians are not trained to assess and react to active shooter situations and may be just as likely to shoot innocent bystanders as the gunman. At the shooting at the STEM school in 2019 a security guard who was not supposed to have a concealed weapon mistakenly shot at a responding police officer and missed, wounding two students. In addition, this lack of training may result in a tragedy where a concealed carry individual believes someone has a gun when in fact they do not. It is also nearly impossible for police reacting to the scene to suss out who the good guys and the bad guys are, which can (and has) led to police shooting a bystander who was trying to help. This happens far too often with trained police officers already. Since Columbine, police training to react to these mass shooter incidents has improved greatly and they are more likely to resolve any active shooter situation in the best manner possible. Civilians are also more likely to be sloppy with their guns, leaving them in bathrooms or classrooms for others to find (this has happened in other states). In addition, while it is true that permit holders are vetted, we don’t allow them in the state capitol, where the legislators work, so let’s keep them out of schools.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1038

HB21-1044 Winery License Include Noncontiguous Areas (Bridges (D), Gardner (R)) [Hooton (D), Larson (R)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

AMENDED: Moderate

Appropriation: $13,247
Fiscal Impact: Negligible

Goal:

  • Allow wineries to maintain licensed premises of up to five two different non-contiguous sites within a 10-mile radius so long as they have federal approval and proof they are complying with all local ordinances

Description:

Wineries with this kind of license can only operate a sales room at one location. For purposes of entertainment districts or common consumption areas (where you can legally walk around with open containers of alcohol), only the parts of the winery that are contiguously within the zone count.

Bill also allows the state to a one-time application fee and a rewewal fee for this license, not to exceed $500 per location.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Growing wine frequently relies on micro-climates, so many wineries have land that is not contiguous. It doesn’t make sense to force them to license each different place if they are close to each other, and the limits of 5 2 sites within 10 miles ensures we aren’t going overboard with numerous facilities spread far apart

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1044

HB21-1058 Promoting Social Distancing In Marijuana Industry (Gonzales (D)) [Gray (D)]

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana cards based on remote consultation. For a first-time consultation for patients under 21, at least two doctors must agree on the prescription and that the patient has a debilitating or disabling medical condition and the recommending doctor must attest they explained the possible risks and benefits of medical marijuana

Description:

Remove clause that prohibits retail marijuana stores from products online and delivering products to people not physically present at their store. This delivery clause actually conflicts with other parts of state law, as a different law allows online sales and delivery by retail marijuana stores if it is permitted by their local jurisdiction.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • We should not be requiring people to see a doctor in person to get a medical marijuana card, especially since we are moving to allowing more and more telehealth in the rest of medicine. And this is not just due to the pandemic, it greatly helps in rural areas and for people who struggle to physically travel
  • The rest is just clean-up, old provisions that conflict with new laws

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This is an illegal drug in federal law. We don’t need to making it easier for people to break federal laws. The federal government looking the other way could always end. We need to instead pull back from all of this.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1058

HB21-1070 Repeal Ammunition Magazine Prohibition [Hanks (R)]

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Repeals the ban on high-capacity magazines and the requirement that that some magazines manufactured in Colorado after July 1, 2013 be stamped as such.

Description:

High-capacity magazines are:

  • A fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device capable of accepting, or that is designed to be readily converted to accept, more than fifteen rounds of ammunition
  • A fixed, tubular shotgun magazine that holds more than twenty-eight inches of shotgun shells, including any extension device that is attached to the magazine and holds additional shotgun shells
  • A nontubular, detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device that is capable of accepting more than eight shotgun shells when combined with a fixed magazine

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This interferes with citizen’s 2nd amendment rights to own guns
  • Since criminals are unlikely to obtain their weapons legally, this may not help prevent tragic mass shootings—just prevent law-abiding citizens from using them
  • The solution to mass shooting events lies in people, not in gun restrictions

In Further Detail: The high-capacity magazine ban is an infringement on the 2nd Amendment rights of Colorado citizens. The framers did not carve exceptions into the 2nd Amendment and if a Colorado citizen wants to use high-capacity magazines they have the Constitutional right to do so. Furthermore, criminals do not follow laws, that is why they are criminals, so this ban won’t help prevent tragic incidents of mass shootings because someone who wants to commit a mass shooting isn’t going to make sure they obtain their weapons legally. There are numerous ways around this ban, so the only effect is to keep law-abiding citizens who already weren’t going to shoot anyone from using them. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, so the solution to mass shootings is in people, not guns.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • There is no need for any gunowner to have the ability to fire this many rounds without reloading
  • High-capacity magazines make it impossible to stop shooters before they can cause mass casualties, even with perfect response times or even if a good guy with a gun is on scene
  • The law has been in place for 8 years—we can settle the constitutional issue
  • Criminals try to evade all sorts of laws, that is why they are criminals—we don’t only make things illegal because we think people will stop doing them

In Further Detail: This ban was put into place after the Aurora theater shooting, where the shooter was able to fire 30 bullets without reloading. It of course is still on the books, which tells you all you need to know about its constitutionality. There is no need for any gun owner to fire so many bullets without pause, the only reason to do so is if you want to kill as many people as possible before you have to stop firing. Just last year in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman opened fire. Police had him down within 32 seconds. 32 seconds, it would be nearly impossible to have a faster response time, even if so-called good guys with guns were on the scene instead of police. And yet the gunman was able to fire 41 shots within that 32 seconds, killing 9 people and injuring 14 others. He did not have reload and he did not have to switch guns. Ohio does not have a ban on high capacity magazines. Any loopholes in the enforcement of the law should be closed, not used as a justification for ditching it altogether. The fact that criminals will try to evade the law isn’t a reason to not have it. By that logic we shouldn’t have any laws at all, since criminals won’t try to stick to them.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1070

HB21-1082 Gun Transfer Background Check Permit Exemption [McKean (R)]

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Not yet released

Goal:

  • With federal approval, allow a state concealed carry license to exempt individuals from background checks when purchasing a gun. The bill adds a requirement for sheriffs to do a background check prior to issuing or renewing a concealed carry license and the gun purchaser in all cases (there is some wiggle room on this in current law). The buyer must attest that they have not been convicted of a crime of domestic violence or been treated for a mental health condition or are otherwise ineligible to posses a firearm since their last background check

Description:

Bill makes it a class 1 misdemeanor to lie about their status to legally posses a gun or knowingly present an invalid or expired permit. Also lose the permit if you have one.

Federal law on background checks allows exemptions if the purchaser presents a state license or permit that is recognized by the federal government as an alternative. In order to be eligible the permit must have been issued within 5 years before the sale and the state must have completed a background check prior to issuing the permit.

Right now sheriffs have some discretion on approving a permit if they don’t have the background check information in a timely manner and retired police officers do not have to submit to a background check.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • A bunch of other states already have similar laws, federal approval would therefore seem likely
  • The background check is still being done on the licensee, just not necessarily as close in time to the purchase
  • Someone who has paid a fee for a concealed carry permit already owns a gun, they have to demonstrate proficiency with the weapon to get a permit in the first place

In Further Detail: This is not a radical idea, 24 other states have versions of this procedure and it has the official blessing of the federal government, so if we ask, Colorado is likely to become state #25. Background checks are still being done on people with the permit (in fact the bill strengthens background check requirements for these permits), so no one is acquiring a weapon without a background check. The timing of the check is just not necessarily as close to purchase as occurs under current law. And while it is true that most of the time these checks are very fast, when they are not fast they can drag out quite a bit. So when you consider the fact that anyone with a valid concealed carry permit is overwhelmingly likely to already own a gun (you have to demonstrate proficiency with your weapon to get the permit in the first place), we aren’t preventing someone who shouldn’t have a gun from having one, we are just adding unnecessary time delays into the process.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • A lot can happen in the course of a year that makes someone a danger to posses a weapon, the entire point of background checks is to make sure that we should not sell this person a weapon right now—and we have over 500,000 concealed carry permits in the state
  • Someone who wants to buy a gun and knows they shouldn’t be allowed to is probably going to lie about it—the bill has no provision for going back and checking these statements for when permits need to be renewed
  • No system is going to be perfect—it is true a permit holder is likely to already have a weapon, but it is also possible they no longer do because of the very circumstances that would make them flunk a background check and those are the exact people we don’t want to be selling to—and most background checks are nearly instant, like 90% of them

In Further Detail: A lot can happen over the course of a year that makes someone no longer suited to posses a gun. And particularly in domestic violence cases, things can deteriorate fast: from an initial conviction to murder within a span of days or weeks. And with over 500,000 concealed carry permits in the state, that is a lot of people we are just assuming haven’t had any issues since their last renewal. The provision about attesting that someone is still good to own a weapon is likely to stop no one who actually is not: they will just lie about it. The bill doesn’t have anything that requires anyone to go back and check these written statements, so that individual is likely to get away with the lie. The only time we will probably ever know is if they do something terrible with the gun they purchased and we find out they never should have had it in the first place. And yes, a permit holder is overwhelmingly likely to already have a gun. But what about the cases where in fact they don’t anymore? It is quite possible to have the gun lost or stolen or removed by a concerned family member. That latter case in particular is important here: people can remove guns without going through the red flag protected order process (which would also have erased the concealed carry permit). And those people should not be able to buy replacement guns. Since most background checks, over 90% of them, are nearly instant, we aren’t holding up very many people. Finally, just because other states have done something wrong doesn’t mean we need to as well.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1082

HB21-1090 Criminal Marijuana Offenses (Gonzales (D)) [A. Valdez]

SIGNED INTO LAW

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Move the legal limit of marijuana possession from one ounce to two ounces and require courts to automatically seal the records of anyone convicted of possession of less than two ounces of marijuana who has not been convicted of a subsequent criminal offense. Also allows those convicted of having more than 12 growing plants (the legal limit) but less than 25 to have their convictions sealed

Description:

Currently it is a petty drug offense to have 1-2 ounces of marijuana, which carries a $100 fine and $200 surcharge. Sealing possession convictions would not allow any input from district attorneys. Cultivation offense requires petitioning the court through the normal process for sealing records.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This level of possession is basically not being enforced (average of 27 convictions a year), flies in the face of what we allow for medical marijuana possession (2 ounce maximum), and the legislature has already blessed as a pardonable past offense (through a bill last year that led the governor to pardon 2,732 people)
  • Record sealing is vital for housing, jobs, and higher education. If we decide this kind of activity is not a crime, then we owe it to people convicted of it in the past who have done nothing else wrong since to have their records cleared

In Further Detail: We already nearly have a de facto 2 ounce possession limit. The petty offense is barely being enforced, with just 27 convictions per year on average (note that even though we are removing a crime with a penalty, there is zero fiscal impact), and we just declared the governor could pardon people convicted of possession of less than 2 ounces. Not 1, which was the legal limit at the time, but 2. It also flatly contradicts what we allow for medical marijuana possession. Record sealing in a case like this is extremely important. Nearly 90% of employers, 80% of landlords, and 60% of colleges do criminal background screens. Multiple state regulations impose restrictions on hiring someone with a criminal history. Someone with a petty drug offense conviction on their record will be flagged by these screenings. If they have done nothing wrong since and we have now determined that this actually isn’t even a crime, we need to seal their records. The governor felt he only had the power to pardon people for state offenses and for possession of less than 1 ounce, thus the low number. This bill will reach everyone who was convicted locally, the vast majority of people.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • We are sealing the records for people convicted of activity that remains a federal crime
  • Sealing records for cultivation is a potential slippery slope to legalization of this number of plants

In Further Detail: This remains a federal crime. We are sealing the criminal record of commission of a crime that the federal government is ignoring for now, but there is no guarantee that will last. And we just saw how making it easier to remove past convictions for something that is still a crime can then lead to turning around and using that new power to argue that it shouldn’t be a crime at all. Last year the legislature says the governor can pardon people with less than 2 ounce possession charges, even though it remained a crime to have 1-2 ounces. Now this year we are saying that the fact the legislature already said pardons were allowed for fewer than 2 ounces means we should move the legal limit.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1090

HB21-1098 Civil Liability For Extreme Risk Protection Orders [Woog (R)]

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

AMENDED: Very Significant (category change)

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Negligible each year

Goal:

  • Allow anyone who has their gun taken away due to the state’s extreme risk protection order laws and then cannot defend themselves or their family with their gun and suffers injury or damages as a result to sue anyone involved with the bill that brought extreme risk protection orders in law, house bill 19-1177 the person or people who filed the extreme risk protection order petition. Victory in court results in all reasonable damages to compensate the victim or damages of at least $100,000 and up to $100,000,000 if death or disability occurs reasonable court and attorney fees and $5,000 in damages

Description:

Reasonable damages include physical, psychological, or emotional injuries. Anyone who drafted, proposed, promoted, or provided support, financial, or otherwise, to pass, implement, or enforce HB1177 is liable.

HB19-1177 allows for a family or household member or law enforcement officer to petition a court for a temporary extreme risk protection order that would remove firearms from an individual for 364 days or until the individual can prove to the court they are no longer a risk.

The petitioner must establish by the preponderance of the evidence that an individual poses a significant risk to self or others by having a firearm or by getting a firearm. The individual in question has access to an attorney at the state’s expense, not a public defender but someone from a pool of private attorneys who have agreed to participate. The court must hold the hearing in person or by telephone the day the petition is filed or the next court day. If a temporary protection order is granted, another hearing must be held within 14 days to determine if the order should be continued. A continued order is in effect for 364 days. The individual under the order can petition once during the 364 days to have it removed, here the burden is on the individual under the order to prove they are no longer a risk, but there is discretion left to the judge to order future hearings if the judge thinks there is a strong possibility the order could no longer be necessary before it expires. The petitioner can request the order be extended before it expires. Upon expiration or lifting of the order, all of the individual’s firearms must be returned.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • If someone is deprived of their firearm without committing any crime and then is injured or killed without the opportunity to defend themselves, the people who made it so the gun could be taken away should be held accountable. That should deter anyone from making a frivilous extreme protection risk filing

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This is an attack on our legislative process: if you don’t like a law you work to change it or challenge it in court, you don’t try to sue the people who pushed, advocated, or voted for a bill to passed and certainly not the people who are enforcing the laws as written—not in America
  • So-called red flag laws are about saving lives and are in place all over the country. There is a strong judicial review process involved. Making people liable in situations where guns are taken away may have a chilling effect on the intended purpose of the law

In Further Detail: This is not how our system of laws works. Laws on the books are to be enforced, and people in law enforcement, the judiciary, and the executive branch must enforce them. People who propose laws are also not to be pursued and punished if the law is passed and faithfully executed. If you don’t like a law, you have to go through the legislative process to change it. If you think a law is unconstitutional, you have to go to the courts for remedy. And these extreme protection risk laws, so-called red flag laws, exist across the country and have not been overturned by the court system for being unconstitutional. If that happens, then the red flag law in the state will be struck down. If someone wants to remove extreme protection risk order laws from our system, then the proper avenue to pursue is legislation to do so or a court challenge to the validity of the law. We don’t punish people here for having ideas and trying to make them law, even if we think they are misguided and apt to cause more harm than they prevent. Oh, and since it probably should be said, this is about saving lives. We’ve all asked, in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting and many others, why no one stepped in when it seemed so obvious that there was such clear danger. The unfortunate answer is, it wouldn’t have mattered without something like extreme risk protection orders. If Nicholas Cruz lived in Colorado and people were concerned he would become violent with his firearms, it was not possible to take them away from him, by any avenue, until after he commits a crime. Here in Colorado deputy Zackari Parrish, was killed by a mentally unstable man that the local authorities knew was unstable and armed. And then there are the numerous successful suicides by gun, which may have not been successful with alternatives like pills. Deputy Parrish, and many others, might still be alive today if when people see something and say something, we can actually do something about it. This was a bipartisan bill supported by numerous state sheriffs. It contains numerous safeguards for the rights of the accused individual and relies on a judge to administer the final ruling. We should not chill the potential uses of this law by making people liable, even if it was completely proper the guns were taken away.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1098

HB21-1106 Safe Storage Of Firearms (Bridges (D), Hansen (D)) [Duran (D), Mullica (D)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None until the education campaign can use general fund money

Goal:

  • Require anyone owning a firearm to store it securely when there is either a juvenile or resident of the premises who cannot legally possess a firearm. People who carry the weapon on their person or in such close proximity that they can easily retrieve are exempt. It is a defense if a juvenile gains possession of a gun to use it in self-defense or to defend livestock. Violation is a class 2 misdemeanor.
  • Every licensed gun dealer must provide a locking device with each gun sold. Antiques are exempt. They must also post in a conspicuous location a notice developed by the state describing the secure storage law. Violation of this section is an unclassified misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.

Description:

Secure storage can be accomplished with either a secure gun safe which the juvenile or ineligible resident does not have the ability to access or with a locking device on the weapon itself (again the juvenile or ineligible resident cannot have the ability to unlock it). Locking mechanisms include a lock that opens with a key, combination or biometric data. For biometric data, it must prevent anyone other than the authorized user from using the weapon.

Office of suicide prevention must include information about this law on its website in both English and Spanish.

State must develop an education campaign around this law, subject to having enough money to do so. This can include materials for law enforcement and health care providers, as well as information about programs that assist firearm owners with getting locking devices, safes, or other secure storage containers. State may use mass media commercials for this education campaign. It may solicit grants and donations. State is not to appropriate any general fund money for this campaign until fiscal year 2023-24.

State must report to legislature in 2022, 2023, and 2024 number of charges for violations of each of these two new crimes in the previous year and the disposition of charges.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: December 2024 for reporting requirement

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Accidental gun firings kill children every day in the United States and guns are the 2nd highest cause of death for children and adolescents which includes suicides
  • Data indicated only about half of gun owners in this country with children in the house securely lock their weapons
  • The #1 method for reducing suicides and unintentional deaths due to guns is to require them to be locked
  • Nearly 20,000 guns over a four-year period in Colorado, these can be used in other criminal activity
  • Research does not support home defense with a gun as something that happens very often, accidental shootings or suicides happen much more often—and the technology for gun locking mechanisms, including biometrics, is improving all the time

In Further Detail: Every year in this country we lose about 75 children in this country due to accidentally firing a gun. This ranges from toddlers shooting themselves (which happened in Salida in 2016) to teenagers messing around and accidentally shooting their friends. In 2016 guns were the second most common cause of death for children and adolescents. This also includes suicides, the cause of death for 38% of gun-related deaths for minors in 2017. And this is happening in no other developed country on the planet. Over 90% of all the firearms deaths (including murders) in the entire industrialized world occur in the US. Survey data indicates that only 54% of gun owners in this country with children in the house securely lock their guns in some manner. Research has indicated that the #1 gun safety method for decreasing suicide and unintentional deaths is requiring them to be locked. As for the notion of home defense, the one study that this notion tends to rest upon has been fairly widely debunked (among other things it had mathematically impossible numbers of guns used defensively in burglaries, more than the number of burglaries committed while someone was in the house and awake). More recent attempts at studying the issue have found fewer than 1,600 verified defensive gun uses and an estimated 3,200 total defensive gun uses in the entire country per year (and not all of these are legal). Because gun research has been stymied at a large scale level in this country we don’t have one true number on how often a gun is used against the residents of a house rather than an intruder. But the vast majority of research suggests it is far more often, with increases of over 40% for homicides and over 200% for suicides when a gun is in a home. Of course securing the gun won’t stop all of these homicides or suicides as some are committed by the same person who would have access to what is needed to unlock the weapon. But it would have a large impact, particularly on kids. And the corresponding “drop” in ability to defend the house at a moment’s notice is not supported by the vast majority of the data. Meanwhile the technology around biometric locking mechanisms (which prevent the trigger from being pulled) has advanced greatly, so that even the self-defense refusal to secure a gun argument is starting to become irrelevant. Let’s not forget that the split-second home invasion scenario also requires the gun to be loaded and essentially at hand for the owner. Extremely unsafe by any measure. Unless of course you can lock the gun from firing. Even the NRA, on its website, touts trigger locks (not biometric but simple locks) as an affordable method of securing a gun, noting that some locks are free with community programs and that most new guns are sold with a trigger lock in the box. So part two of this law, requiring gun dealers to provide a locking device, is not an onerous requirement either. This law is also not unique, many other states have similar versions already (and Massachusetts has a much stricter one). Finally, nearly 20,000 guns were stolen in four years in Colorado. The best way to keep a gun from being stolen is to secure it.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • Biometrics remain pretty expense, all other forms of locking take time to unlock, which makes it harder to defend yourself when you only have seconds to act in an emergency (which definitely does happen in this country)
  • Owning a gun is protected by the 2nd amendment and it is a perfectly valid exercise of that right to purchase a gun to use in self-defense

In Further Detail: It remains a perfectly valid (and 2nd amendment protected) decision to buy a gun to protect yourself and your home and family. This bill dictates to law-abiding gun owners how they keep their constitutionally protected property in their own homes. Biometric locks remain pretty expensive so it is better to focus on other locking mechanisms, all of which take time to unlock and would make it harder for someone to defend themselves in an emergency. Which as even the arguments for section notes, happens. It may not happen as much as some of the upper ranges a few studies have found but it may happen slightly more often than the arguments for section suggests because not all self-defense uses are reported to police so there must be some extrapolation and estimation involved


Bottom Line:

  • This bill may be largely unenforceable except after a tragedy has already occurred. No one is going to be checking homes and it does not appear anyone is going to be checking gun dealers. So violators of the law may go largely undetected.
  • We need to go further. Massachusetts requires all guns to be locked in the manner this bill allows when they are not in use (not just when there is a juvenile or someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the house). Massachusetts also has the lowest firearm death rate in the nation, by a fairly significant margin (Colorado is #20 at 14.3 per 100,000 people, Massachusetts is 3.4). We need similar laws here.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1106

HB21-1159 Limitations On Regulated Marijuana Delivery (Holbert (R), Rodriguez (D)) [Snyder (D)]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

AMENDED: Moderate

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Around $500,000 per year

Goal:

  • Increase restrictions on the delivery of retail marijuana products by requiring stores to be open at least 5 hours for at least 5 days a week to get a permit, requiring delivery only of products that are available in the store and for the same price, and prohibiting online platforms from having pre-paid accounts for marijuana stores, only licensed stores can have pre-paid accounts but third party financial institutions can facilitate the use of these accounts
  • Waive the retail marijuana transporter license (in essence the license that allows delivery) fee for social equity marijuana licensees

Description:

The bill also clarifies that having a retail or medical marijuana license does not allow you to delivery marijuana. You must have the transporter license.

Social equity licenses are what used to be called accelerator licenses designed to get people with past convictions for marijuana or from economically disadvantaged communities into the industry.

Requires the state to notify retail marijuana stores if their delivery company is found to violating rules that endanger public safety. If the retail store continues to use the delivery company and another violation occurs, then the retail store itself is also liable for actions against its license.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • We want to ensure the retail marijuana delivery is precisely that: a delivery service not an online store with no real retail backing
  • The point of the social equity license is to remove barriers to entry so as to diversify the state’s marijuana industry—making it easier to get the delivery license will help do that

In Further Detail: Without this bill it would be possible for someone to delivery marijuana products that are not available in stores from a store that is barely open. In other words, a front operation for what is really an online store. Which we do not want to have in this heavily regulated industry for a product that can impair judgment and we want to keep out the hands of kids. So we make sure the store is really open and that it is only delivering products that you can buy in person as a convenience. As for the social equity license, this program is designed to remove barriers to entry so that people from all backgrounds can get into this growing industry. It is also a way to combat the gray market (people without licenses selling marijuana illegally) by providing a pathway for people with, let’s say, experience in selling marijuana to do so legally. So it makes sense to waive the delivery license fee, by definition folks with the social equity license are not necessarily coming into this industry with large financial backing.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • What’s wrong with having a retail outlet that mostly services people online? They must still adhere to the rules of their retail license in terms of storage, security, and inspections. They must still adhere to their delivery license. In modern Colorado online shopping and delivery are a part of our regular lives and there is no reason this cannot be done safely

In Further Detail: We order all sorts of products online and have them delivered to us, some of them potentially dangerous and regulated. Any retail marijuana licensee has to adhere to the rules of their retail license. So we aren’t talking about someone selling marijuana out of their home online. They have to adhere to all rules around safe storage of their license and are subject to inspection. For delivery, again they need the license and have to follow the rules. And if the prices are different, so what? We can safely have in essence online marijuana stores that must follow the same rules as stores that are true retail locations.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1159

HB21-1178 Correcting Errors in the Colorado Marijuana Code (Woodward (R), Zenzinger (D)) [Pico (R), D. Valdez (D)]

TECHNICAL BILL

SIGNED INTO LAW

Description: Fixes some inaccurate citations, grammar and wording issues in the state’s marijuana laws.

HB21-1185 Repeal Government Firearms Regulations And Training Class Regulation [Neville (R)]

KILLED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Not yet released

Goal:

  • Forbid the governor from suspending or limiting the sale of firearms or firearms ammunition during a disaster
  • Repeal prohibition on using an online handgun training class to meet the requirements for getting a concealed carry permit

Description:

There are other ways to get a concealed carry permit than certification from a handgun training class, including military service, organized shooting competitions, law enforcement experience, or being a certified instructor.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • In a disaster the ability to defend yourself may be more important than ever and the right to own firearms is specifically in the Constitution
  • We’ve learned a great many things can be done remotely during the pandemic, gun safety training should be added to the list

In Further Detail: Depending on the disaster, the ability to defend yourself may be more important than ever (they won’t necessarily be pandemics). The right to bear arms is explicitly written into our Constitution. And yet right now the governor can, on their own authority and basically indefinitely, suspend the ability of Coloradans to buy firearms (it is there with his ability to do the same for alcohol and explosives). Of course the legislature can override such a declaration, but that requires being in-session (it would take a 2/3 vote to come back into special session without the governor’s request) and would probably require overriding a veto. All to secure a basic Constitutional right. No one is asking for anything other than the ability to exercise that right with all of the restrictions we already have in place. When it comes to the training class, one of the enduring takeaways of the pandemic has been just how much can be done remotely. Taking safety classes is one of those things and it is appropriate to lift the ban on them for proof that an individual is ready for a concealed carry permit.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • The governor is given this power because some emergencies might call for keeping more firearms from being amassed in public hands (it was notably NOT used during our current COVID emergency) and any emergency declaration can be overridden by the legislature
  • The entire point of the handgun safety class for getting a concealed carry permit is proof that someone can safely handle a gun, not as an academic exercise but in real life

In Further Detail: Arguments For is exactly right that not all emergencies are the same. Which is precisely why the governor needs this power. It was NOT used during our COVID emergency because of course there was no great public need to restrict the sale of firearms. But it very much could be in need if the nature of the disaster had to do with dangers to public safety from violence. Allowing anyone to get a gun (or more guns) during such an occurrence would increase the peril to everyone. And so we have this provision, which has not been used and can be overridden, just like any other disaster declaration by the governor, by the legislature. For handgun safety, the entire point is to demonstrate that the individual can safely handle a gun. Not understand all of the theory behind gun safety and pass a test after taking a remote course, but demonstrate in-person to an qualified instructor that the individual can be trusted with a gun.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1185

HB21-1204 Unemployment Insurance Marijuana-licensed Business (Holbert (R), Ginal (D)) [Snyder (D)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Designate employee leasing companies that are at least 50% owned by a company with a marijuana license as not a common paymaster for purposes of the Colorado Employment Security Act.

Description:

Employers have set up third-party leasing employment companies so their frontline employees can claim their income for banking, lending, and employee benefit purposes. Those are the companies this bill is affecting and what it does is allow them to continue that arrangement.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Employees who work in the marijuana industry cannot claim their income for purposes of getting loans, etc. So employers have set-up third-party leasing employment companies to employ the folks who do not touch the plants so these frontline employees can claim their income for banking and lending purposes. Direct employees of marijuana companies also can’t get health benefits or 401ks, so this third-party arrangement allows employees to get labor benefits. This bill enshrines this practice into law, as it had been questioned by the state department of labor which thought that the company’s themselves should be the employers. It simply allows this arrangement to continue, which allows these front-line employees to continue to work in the industry and live normal lives in our banking and lending world. It will also allow unemployment payments and benefits to work properly for these companies and employees.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1204

HB21-1216 Marijuana Licensees Ability To Change Designation (Gonzales (D)) [A. Valdez (D), Van Winkle (R)]

PASSED

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Some likely reduction in marijuana excise tax revenue, how much is not certain

Goal:

  • Allow medical marijuana cultivation licensees to receive retail marijuana from a co-located retail cultivation facility and change the designation of the marijuana to medical. Same thing for medical marijuana products manufacturers

Description:

Retail marijuana must pass a test prior to being transferred. One transfer is made the marijuana product is medical and cannot be sold as retail. No going back. No excise taxes paid prior to the transfer are to be refunded.

Co-located facilities must have at least one common controlling owner. Change must be entered into the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system. All cultivation facilities must remain under their regulatory inventory limits at all times.

Medical marijuana doesn’t carry the same heavy sales and excise taxes as retail marijuana (15% sales, 15% excise on transfer on retail vs. 2.9% sales on medical).

Requires state to study feasibility of doing the same thing in reverse: changing retail marijuana to medical. Report due by January 3, 2022, and must include: potential economic impacts, potential production management impacts, potential impacts on pricing at wholesale and retail levels, stakeholder perspectives (both for and against), potential impacts or challenges for local governments, and potential alternatives.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This allows for increased flexibility for those growers. Sometimes you might have extras in one cultivation category or the other and right now these growers cannot use their excess in category to fill a shortage in another. There is no difference in the requirements for growers in medical or retail areas, so our current law is a distinction without a difference and just serves to interfere with grower flexibility. The reason for the change only going in one direction is that our shortages are entirely in the medical market. We have lots of retail marijuana being grown already.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1216

HB21-1255 Protection Order Issued Against Domestic Abuser (Jaquez Lewis (D), Pettersen (D)) [Duran (D), Gray (D)]

PASSED

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: $101,050
Fiscal Impact: About $110,000 a year

Goal:

Create a legal process for individuals who must give up their firearms as a result of a domestic violence charge or protective order (that requirement already exists in state law) to tell the court about their guns and close some loopholes in current law.

Description:

Under state law, someone with a domestic violence conviction or who is subject to a domestic protection order is barred from possessing a gun. This bill requires such an individual to state in court or complete an affidavit in court stating the number of firearms in their immediate possession or control and their location. This must be done within 7 business days after sentencing or implementation of the protection order. These statements cannot be used in any other civil or criminal case against the individual. False statements are subject to perjury charges. Individual must also complete a form with this information. This information is to be given to the individual’s county sheriff. Bill adds an exclusion for weekends and holidays for the timelines in which an individual must relinquish their guns but reduces and changes the extra time a court may allow for someone unable to comply from 72 hours to 24 hours additional time.

Adds the ability for local sheriffs to store the firearms in a storage facility (individual can either sell their guns, give them to the sheriff for safekeeping, or give them to a private individual facilitated by a licensed dealer).

If the guns go to a private individual, that person must complete an acknowledge form of the law, along with the consequences of non-compliance, and affirm they can legally possess the weapons. Private party cannot live at same residence as individual who must give up the guns. Sheriffs must prescribe manner in which guns are transferred and may charge a reasonable fee for doing so.

Court must then conduct a hearing to ensure individual has relinquished their guns, again this must be done within 7 8-12 business days. Bans sheriffs from testing or examining guns stored with them without a proper search warrant. Bans private individual from giving guns back without a written statement from law enforcement acknowledging the guns may be returned.

If a petitioner or law enforcement alleges in a sworn statement there is probable cause the individual still has guns they haven't relinquished the court will determine if probable cause exists and if so, order a search warrant to obtain the guns.

Additional Information:

If the individual does not possess any guns, they must complete a form declaring this, which also is then given to the county sheriff. If the individual sells their weapons to licensed dealer, that dealer must provide them with a signed affidavit acknowledging receipt. Gives immunity for anyone storing the guns for any damage done to them that was not willful or due to gross negligence.


Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This is actually a federal law this bill adds some needed enforcement mechanisms to. Most of the women killed by guns in this country are killed by their domestic partner and in more than half of the mass shootings, the shooter killed an intimate partner. Every month 52 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner and nearly 4.5 million women report being threatened by an intimate partner with a gun
  • Without this bill, we have no way of enforcing this law. The Denver district attorney’s office has one investigator spending all of his time just trying to figure out which people who are legally required to give up their guns actually have them, including digging through social media feeds
  • States that require proof guns were actually relinquished see a drop of 16% in intimate partner homicides

In Further Detail: This is actually mostly a federal law we are adding to, although there are some state-specific elements to it. And it is law for an extremely good reason: most of the women killed by guns in this country are killed by their domestic partner and in more than half of mass shootings in this country, the shooter killed an intimate partner as part of the carnage. Every month an average of 52 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner in this country. Nearly 4.5 million women who are alive today report they were threatened by an intimate partner with a gun. States that restrict access to guns by abusers have seen a 13% reduction in intimate partner homicides. Right now we don’t have a good way of enforcing this because we don’t actually require the individual who must relinquish their guns to say what guns they have and where they are. The Denver district attorney’s office has one investigator spending all of his time just trying to figure out which people who are legally required to give up their guns actually have them, including digging through social media feeds. This bill fixes these process problems, as well as some other issues with storage (including protecting the rights of the individual to unwarranted examination of these guns), and some rather large loopholes around surrendering the weapons to private individuals. States that require proof the guns actually were relinquished see a further drop of 16% in intimate partner homicides. This is quite literally a life and death matter and we need to make sure it is done right.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • While this is based on federal laws, our laws in fact go beyond the federal level in allowing guns to be taken based on misdemeanor domestic violence charges and based on protective court orders, including temporary restraining orders before the case has been heard by a judge. The fact is that we have a 2nd amendment right to bear arms in this country, and while our constitutional rights can be constrained by other people’s rights, misdemeanors should rise to the level of this kind of constraint and certainly not temporary orders before a judge has even ruled on a protection order

Bottom Line:

  • The entire concept, including the federal law, is an infringement on our right to bear arms. People are falsely accused in some cases (and even falsely convicted in some) and we should not take away their rights. Murders are of course tragic, but in some cases people probably would have found a way to kill their partner anyway and maybe even with a gun they either hid or obtained illegally. We take risks as a society all the time, it is the price of freedom that some people can abuse it. We cannot refuse to adhere to federal law but we can refuse to care about it. So if the current system doesn’t have a process for actually getting these guns, then good, let’s keep it that way

Bottom Line:

  • If we are taking a look at this we also need to close the boyfriend loophole. This allows people are not cohabiting to keep their guns, even if they meet all of the other conditions required. 23 other states have already closed this loophole. 20 states also allow law enforcement to remove firearms when they arrive at the scene of a domestic violence incident (they are returned after a length of time has passed). Colorado does not. Colorado also does not prevent those convicted of misdemeanor stalking offenses from accessing guns (felony convictions are part of the federal law). Nine other states do this

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1255

HB21-1298 Expand Firearm Transfer Background Check Requirements (Gonzales (D), Pettersen (D)) [Amabile (D), Woodrow (D)]

PASSED

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

Ban the sale of firearms to anyone convicted in the past five years of a series of violent or harassment related or gun law related misdemeanors. Remove the requirement that a gun be handed over after three days even if the background check is not yet complete. Give the state more time to deal with appeals of background check denials and remove requirement gun be handed over if state cannot obtain disposition of a case that is no longer pending.

Description:

Bans the sale of firearms to anyone convicted, in the past five years, of the following misdemeanors: third degree assault, menacing, sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, child abuse, violation of a protective order, crime against an at-risk person, harassment, bias-motivated crime (hate crime), cruelty to animals, possession of an illegal weapon, or unlawfully providing a firearm to a juvenile. This would come up on the required background check so the denial would come from state law enforcement.

The bill also requires that any background check be complete prior to transferring a gun to a purchaser. Right now if three days have elapsed since the check was requested, the gun can be handed over. The bill also expands the amount of time the state has to respond to appeals of background check decisions from 30 days to 60 days and removes the requirement that the gun be handed over if the state cannot obtain the final disposition of a case that is no longer pending (which is holding up the background check).

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Nothing in this bill is novel, multiple other states have similar post-conviction bans for similar misdemeanor crimes and of course you already cannot buy a gun if convicted of a felony or domestic violence (the latter also requires you to give up the guns you own, which this bill does not)
  • The King Soopers shooter would not have been able to purchase his weapons if this bill had been in place
  • The bill also eliminates the Charleston loophole, which is current law that says if the background check isn’t done after three days you get the gun anyway while it continues. That is how the shooter in Charleston who failed his background check got the gun and killed 9 people with it in a church in 2015. Check didn’t finish within 3 days (vast majority actually finish within minutes but not always)
  • In 2018 there were 3,960 such cases nationwide which included 850 cases of domestic violence. If we believe that background checks are an important step to keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them (and mega-majorities of Americans do), then a 3 day time limit is ridiculous and potentially deadly

In Further Detail: First, it is very important to note that this it not novel. Multiple other states have similar post-conviction bans and it is already a state requirement that you give up your guns if convicted of domestic violence and you cannot buy more (note that this law does not require anyone to give up any guns they already own), and anyone convicted of a felony offense already cannot buy a gun under federal law (these crimes here are all misdemeanors). So there is well-established legal precedent for saying certain people cannot buy guns. That is in fact the entire point of background checks. And let’s also be clear: the King Soopers shooter would have failed his background check if this bill had been law. He had an assault charge within the past five years. All of these listed crimes are crimes of violence and they are crimes that tend to be associated with mass shooters when we look at their history after the fact. This all comes back to what we always hear in the wake of mass shootings: if we could just keep the guns out the hands of the wrong people we’d be OK. And that is why universal background checks enjoy mega-majority support in this country. The rest of the bill is basically about eliminating loopholes that evade background checks, in particular the Charleston loophole. The shooter at the church in Charleston in 2015 was actually ineligible to buy a gun. But his background check didn’t get resolved within three days and the result was nine dead Americans. And it’s not just this particular incident. In 2018 there were 3,960 such cases nationwide (what happens in these cases is the federal government then has to try to retrieve the gun). 850 of those cases involved a buyer who should have been prohibited due to a domestic violence conviction, which we know is one of the most dangerous situations to give someone a gun. The idea that we are so concerned with who buys guns that we say we have to do a complete background check but at the same time if three days pass, too bad here’s the gun, is ridiculous. It is also worth mentioning the vast majority of background checks resolve within a matter of minutes, so they are not at all burdensome in the vast majority of cases. On the mental health front, the idea that you are going to treat everyone with a mental illness to the degree that the number of mass shootings and suicides in the country are drastically reduced is probably a bigger stretch than simply reducing the availability of guns. All comparable nations in the world have mental health issues (Canada, Europe, etc.) but only in this country do we have an epidemic of mass shootings.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • No one should be denied their constitutional right to buy a gun over this list of misdemeanors. That last word is critical, many of these crimes have felony counterparts (which are of course already grounds for failing a background check) but under this bill a conviction for a fist fight will ban you from owning a gun for five years
  • We should not be creating a law just to say we could have prevented the Boulder King Soopers shooting from occurring, because we will never be able to construct a legal framework around denying someone the ability to purchase a gun without also denying a whole lot of other people who have no intention of committing any crime with the weapon. There will always be some other thing so we need to address the other side of this problem: mental illness
  • For the other part of the bill, the state should not be able to hold up a gun purchase indefinitely, there has to be some sort of limit. As the bill is written that background check could take 100 days and someone could still be without the gun they purchased. Remember: someone may be trying to buy a gun to protect themselves

In Further Detail: We should not be extending bans to these misdemeanors. When we think about the seriousness of a crime, felony and misdemeanor are a bright dividing line for a reason. Note that many of the things on here like assault, child abuse, and sexual assault have felony counterparts. What we are in essence saying here is that getting into a fight is a reason to deny someone from owning a gun for five years. That is far too draconian and too much of a rush to fit the Boulder King Soopers case into some law so we can turn around and say we fixed it. The sad truth is that we are never going to construct the perfect legal rationale for denying someone the ability to purchase a gun without also denying a whole lot of other people who have no intention of committing any crime with the weapon. As we are a nation with constitutionally protected gun ownership rights, that means the solution lies in treating the mental illness that lies behind nearly all mass shooters (and suicide attempts for that matter). As for the so-called Charleston loophole, the reason for the three-day period is that background checks are not supposed to take that long and in some cases someone is trying to buy a weapon to protect themselves. If the check still hasn’t resolved after 10 days or 20 days or 50 days, the bill would still prevent that person from exercising their 2nd amendment rights. So perhaps we do need a little more care to prevent situations like Charleston but there has to be some sort of limit.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1298

HB21-1299 Office Of Gun Violence Prevention (Fields (D), Hansen (D)) [Sullivan (D), Bacon (D)]

PASSED

Appropriation: $3 million
Fiscal Impact: $3 million a year

Goal:

Create an office of gun violence prevention to coordinate and promote effective efforts to reduce gun violence and promote research on causes of violence and evidence-based responses to reducing gun violence without contributing to mass incarceration. This includes a grant program, public awareness campaign on laws and resources for gun safety, and data collection and analysis.

Description:

Creates the office of gun violence prevention to coordinate and promote effective efforts to reduce gun violence and promote research on causes of violence and evidence-based responses to reducing gun violence without contributing to mass incarceration. The bill creates a grant program the office runs, which can be awarded to organizations to conduct community-based gun violence intervention efforts that are primarily focused on interrupting cycles of violence, trauma, and retaliation by providing culturally competent intervention services. Priority must be given to individuals and communities identified as being at high risk of gun violence. Any grant initiative must use strategies that are evidence-informed and have demonstrated promise, such as hospital-based violence intervention programs, group violence interventions, evidence-based street outreach programs, violence interruption and crisis management programs, and individualized wraparound services. Grantees must report regularly to the state on the program’s effectiveness, including community input.

The office is also to increase public awareness of federal and state gun laws and existing resources relating to gun violence prevention. This includes the state’s extreme risk protection order law (red flag law), getting a legal protection order against someone else, how to report a lost or stolen firearm (and the legal requirement to do so), best practices for safe storage of firearms (and legal requirements), accessing available mental health and substance use resources including suicide prevention, and safe and responsible gun ownership. To do this office is directed to conduct campaigns aimed at gun owners, parents, and professions that provide services to people and communities disproportionately affected by gun violence. Office must also develop materials and training resources for law enforcement, health care providers, and educators to help them educate the public. Any media strategies may be used.

The office is also to maintain a database of regularly updated and accurate materials and resources on data, research, and statistical information regarding gun violence in the state. Office must assist researchers who are seeking information about gun violence in Colorado; collaborate with researchers to identify gaps in data, use existing research to strengthen gun violence prevention resources and tools, and encourage use of demographic data; and promote new and relevant research on gun violence prevention.

Bill requires the office to have a director (appointed by executive director of department of health and public safety) and at least one full-time staffer in 2021-22 and two full-time staffers in 2022-23. Office is to collaborate with the office of suicide prevention, the Safe2Tell program, the school safety resource center, the department of education, the office of behavioral health, the attorney general’s office, and the division of criminal justice as well as anyone with expertise in gun violence prevention and gun safety. This includes gun dealers, shooting ranges, and firearms safety instructors. Office must report to the legislature each year. $3 million is appropriated for next year for the office and it may accept gifts, grants or donations and is specifically tasked with seeking federal grants.

Additional Information:

Report must include information about the awareness and education campaigns conducted by the office, effective gun violence intervention programs identified and conducted by the office, any federal grants or outside funding applied for and received, and a general summary of new and relevant research in the office’s database.


Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • We should not be afraid of researching gun safety to try to prevent as many Coloradans as possible from dying from gun violence. Fully understanding this problem (and 2 people a day dying in the state from guns is a problem) means collecting and analyzing data, trying out solutions in communities, and making sure people are informed
  • We need the public to be as aware as possible of our gun safety laws. If you don’t like the laws, change them instead of hoping people remain ignorant of them
  • At its core all this bill does is identify a serious statewide problem, put dedicated resources in place to study it, try out solutions in communities, and educate the public

In Further Detail: There’s this weird (but perhaps not if you really think about it) fear of data that comes from opponents of things like this bill. It’s almost as if they already know that many of the answers we are going to find are all of the same common-sense gun safety regulations activists have been pushing for years. So off the top, yes, in order to fully understand a problem and how to solve it you need to study it. That means collecting and analyzing data, it means trying out solutions in communities and seeing how they work, and it also means making sure people are informed. And not just about our state laws (which is important too) but about the basics of gun safety. People are shot all the time, including kids, by accident through either careless gun handling or storage. And when it comes to our state laws, including the red flag extreme protection order law, the more people are aware of them and how they work the safer we will be as a state. Opposition to public awareness tends to stem from a hope that people won’t use or follow these laws if they don’t know about them, which is no way to run a state. If you oppose the law, change it. We have a referendum process in the state, use it if you cannot gain a majority in the legislature. Otherwise the law is the law and it needs to be known and followed. The bottom line is that this bill should be fairly uncontroversial: an office dedicated to safety around the most dangerous items in our society that kill two Coloradans every day on average, that same office provides grants to try to prevent those deaths without resulting to prison, educates the public, and researches ways we can lower the death toll even further.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • We don’t need to spend taxpayer dollars on study that is intended to find the answer is more gun restrictions
  • We also should not create an office in the government dedicated in part to gun restrictions
  • The red flag law in particular is a bad law that should be repealed not promoted: it allows someone to have their guns taken away by court order without actually doing anything, just on the suspicion they might

In Further Detail: The call for more data and work with organizations tends to be a call for more gun restrictions. The idea is to find data that says we need bans on types of guns or waiting periods or red flag laws or the like and minimize any data that says a gun owner used their weapon lawfully, or a gun was purchased illegally on the black market, or that a gun owner defended themselves or others with their weapon. So an office like this gets opposed because opponents see it as a long-term play to reduce gun ownership rights. And then when such laws are made, like the red flag bill or the storage or mandatory reporting of stolen guns bill, there’s a propaganda arm ready to spring into action to spread the word throughout the state. In particular with the red flag law, this could have negative consequences as these laws allow for the confiscation of guns by court order without the individual actually having done anything. There is no requirement that someone actually does something to lose their constitutional right to bear arms under the current law, only the hurdle that others think they might do something. We live in an innocent before proven guilty society and there is a cost to having that freedom. There is also a cost to living in a society where your rights can be taken away for things you might do instead of things that you have done. It is not a good law and we should not be promoting it, in particular because promoting may cause more people to try to abuse the system.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1299

HB21-1301 Cannabis Outdoor Cultivation Measures (Coram (R), Moreno (D)) [Esgar (D), Holtorf (R)]

PASSED

AMENDED: Moderate

Appropriation: $383,974
Fiscal Impact: About $300,000 this year, $200,000 next year, then negligible

Goal:

Convene two working groups, one to examine how to minimize cross-pollination among marijuana plants and the other to study the state’s laws to try to maximize potential interstate competitiveness for Colorado growers if marijuana is legalized federally. Also require the state to set rules for contingency plans for growers for outdoor facilities to protect against adverse weather and allow those growers to take reasonable actions in the meantime to protect their crops.

Description:

Requires the state to convene a working group to study and recommend options for minimizing cross-pollination between cannabis plants. This must include minimizing spread of plants outside registered farms (through simple natural forces, these are called “volunteer” plants), how to best share data on the potential for cross-pollination between farms that are close to each other, best practices for preventing cross-pollination, and feasibility of conducting and financing field studies to examine cross-pollination between farms and between farms and volunteer plants. Recommendations cannot include mandates on the type, location, or timing of any crop planting but can include recommendations that property owners can enter into volunatarily. Report due by June 2022 to the legislature.

Requires Allows the state to set rules for the process and procedures for marijuana cultivators to file contingency plans for outdoor cultivation facilities when there is a threat of adverse weather or other event damaging to the crop based on it being outside. This must be done by the end of the year. Must also set rules by March 2022 for covering plants to protect from extreme weather such as frost. Before then, cultivators may take any reasonable and necessary action to protect their outdoor crop due to adverse weather if they hav filed a contingency plan for these actions. This does not violate any state or local regulations unless it can be proven the action was not reasonable or was not related to adverse weather.

Allows the state to create procedures for conditional issuances of employee license identification cards at time of application for a license. This must be done only after an initial investigation that demonstrates the applicant is qualified. If the results of a fingerprint based background check say otherwise, then the card must be revoked.

Requires the state to convene a different working group to examine existing rules and state tax laws that apply to wholesaler marijuana cultivation. The group is to explore what changes are necessary to make the state more competitive in interstate commerce if marijuana is legalized federally. Report due by June November 2022 to legislature.

Additional Information:

Commissioner of agriculture, state licensing authority, governor’s deputy legal counsel, and governor’s special advisor on cannabis is to convene cross-pollination group. Commissioner Members to be appointed by chairs of legislative agricultural committees and should strive to include representation of a diverse cross-section of affected businesses, scientists and agronomists with expertise in cross-pollination, software companies that serve the agricultural industry, companies with expertise in agricultural surveying, and organizations with expertise in certified hemp seed development. members. Members include: two from affected licensed cultivation businesses in the state, one geneticist with experience in cannabis breeding, one scientist or agronomist with expertise in cross-pollination, two members from software companies that serve the agricultural industry, two from businesses in the state with experience growing hemp from feminine seeds or clones for cannabinoid production, two from companies with experience in agricultural surveying, two from businesses in the state with experience in developmen of certified seeds, and two from businesses in the state with experience growing hemp grain and fiber varieties. Director of marijuana enforcement division to appoint four members: two with expertise in licensed marijuana cultivation regulations and two representing licensed marijuana outdoor cultivation businesses with expertise in cannabis genetics.

State licensing authority, governor’s deputy legal counsel, and governor’s special advisor on cannabis is to convene wholesale law working group. No direction is given in the bill about the composition of this group.


Auto-Repeal: January 2023 for both working groups

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Cross-pollination is a severe concern when we are dealing with a highly regulated crop like cannabis where we are supposed to know exactly what we are getting out of each plant
  • Like any crop grown outdoors, when marijuana is grown outside it is at risk to adverse weather. Many horticulturists around the state take measure to prevent loss or damage to crops due to adverse weather but marijuana growers cannot right now, because doing so could violate local or state regulations. If it is legal to grow the crop and the cultivator is licensed, then of course they should be able to take the same measures as anyone else growing a crop. The bill does require the state to set up rules and procedures around this, but in the meantime just lets these growers protect their crops
  • Federal legalization is likely coming. It may not be imminent, but the direction the country is moving in is clear (and it is the entire country moving, not just blue states or red states). So it makes sense to be prepared to put our best foot forward when it comes to our state’s marijuana growing industry

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This remains a federal crime. Everyone growing marijuana in this state is violating federal law and there is no guarantee the federal government will continue to look the other way. Until it is no longer a federal crime we should not be continuing to normalize it in Colorado and we certainly should not give anyone free reign until the state has written rules and procedures governing exactly what can and cannot be done

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1301

HB21-1317 Regulating Marijuana Concentrates (Hansen (D), Lundeen (R)) [Garnett (D), Caraveo (D)]

PASSED

AMENDED: Moderate

Appropriation: $6,846,993
Fiscal Impact: None beyond appropriation

Goal:

Regulate marijuana concentrate more heavily by limiting the amount someone can buy in a single day to 8 grams and requiring each gram be separated into 0.1 gram packaging. Medical marijuana users would only be able to exceed the cap if it is part of their prescription. On that front, make medical marijuana prescriptions more like other prescriptions, with dosage amounts and instructions for use and a tracking system that prevents people from double-dipping on their prescription. Crack down on 18-20 year-olds by requiring two separate doctors approve a medical marijuana card and creating a lower, 2 gram, limit for concentrates. Do an extensive study of the effects of high THC on health, including on developing brains, and start tracking hospital and death data for THC-related adverse health conditions and deaths.

Description:

Bans the sale by medical marijuana stores of more than 8 grams of marijuana concentrate to a patient in a single day unless their prescription specifically allows them to exceed the limit or it would be a significant physical or geographic hardship to make daily purchases. For those 18-20 years-old, the limit is 2 grams (again unless prescription allows otherwise or they are homebound). Retail marijuana stores are banned entirely from selling more than 8 grams of concentrate per day. Physical forms of concentrate must be sold in packaging that separates each gram into no less than 10 equal portioned amounts (so 0.1 grams per package) beginning in 2023. Any advertising or marketing specific to concentrates must include a notice of potential risks of concentrate overconsumption. Concentrate is frequently known as “dabs” and is concentrated cannabis that typically comes in a wax form and is made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids from plants. It obviously is a more concentrated delivery of marijuana than other products.

All medical marijuana sales required to be recorded in the existing seed-to-sale inventory system so as to identify discrepancies between authorized quantity limits and actual sales, access real-time patient data, and provide an error message if the sale will exceed the quantity or potency limit.

Requires 18-20 year-olds to get a diagnosis of a condition needing medical marijuana from at least two different physicians from separate medical practices (unless the patient is homebound or had a medical marijuana card before turning 18). Patient must attend follow-up appointments every six months with one of the physicians. Medical marijuana businesses are prohibited by the bill for advertising directed at 18-20 year-olds.

Requires assessment of patient’s medical history to be in-person and consider mental health history as well as medical or mental health issues that could be exacerbated by marijuana use. This does not require a mental health examination. The bill also requires the prescription to be more detailed, including date, patient name and address, authorizing physician information including federal drug enforcement agency number, THC potency level recommended, daily authorized quantity and directions for use. This prescription must be kept in the physician’s records as well as given to the patient. Physicians cannot charge extra fees for boosted recommendations and any that regularly prescribe medical marijuana must take at least a 5 hour continuing education course on the subject every two years or 8 hours every three.

Requires the Colorado School of Public Health to do a systematic review of all available scientific evidence-based research on the physical and mental health effects of high-potency THC marijuana and marijuana concentrates, in particular its effect on the developing brain. Must also identify evidence gaps and need for new research. Initial report due by January 31, 2022 to the legislature with update on these potential gaps in evidence. The school, in conjunction with the University of Colorado, must create a scientific review council to review the next stage of the report, which is due by July 1, 2022. The council must approve a public education campaign based upon the report and create a pamphlet describing the possible risks the report uncovers. $1 $4 million appropriated from the marijuana cash fund for the study for each of the next three years ($3 million total). State is to create informational materials on the risks to dissemenate to stores.

State must create a deidentified report from hospital and ER discharge data of patients with conditions or diagnosis that reflect marijuana use, including identifying if it was in conjunction with alcohol. Coroners are required to screen for THC and identify if it was in conjunction with alcohol for every non-natural death of someone under 25. Deidentified results must be provided to the state’s violent death reporting system. State must report this data along with the other report to the legislature each year.

Bill also appropriates $2 million out of the marijuana cash fund to the first time drunk driving fund which helps first time drunk driving offenders.

Additional Information:

No members of the council or their immediate families may have a conflict of interest. Schools must aim to have at least 25% of the council be people of color. Council must include: epidemiologist, clinician familiar with prescription and dosage and administration of medical marijuana under current state law to those 0-17 years-old, medical toxicologist, neurologist, pediatrician, psychiatrist, an internal medicine physician or other specialist in adult medicine, a preventative medicine specialist or public health professional, a neuropsychopharmacologist, a medical or public health expert who specializes in racial and health disparities and systemic inequities in health care and medicine, and a substance abuse specialist.


Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • We don’t know enough about the impact of high concentrate THC use, in particular regular use and in particular on developing brains. THC levels are climbing, from an average of 57% in concentrates in 2014 to 69% in 2017 with some retailers advertising 95% products
  • Regulating THC in marijuana is not new: edibles began to be regulated in 2016
  • So much more study is needed of THC and concentrates, in the meantime we need to limit the amount someone can buy in one go (unless prescription says otherwise). Marijuana remains a potentially dangerous mind-altering drug. You can debate whether it is less dangerous than alcohol but it is not harmless and we appropriately therefore regulate it heavily. Better safe than sorry while we get more information and people will still have access to whatever THC levels they want on a regular basis
  • Medical marijuana is supposed to be a prescription, so it should be treated like one: with allowed amounts and instructions for use
  • There is a gap in our system for 18-20 year-olds, who cannot legally purchase recreational marijuana but can obtain a medical marijuana card without the approval of a parent or guardian. This group deserves extra scrutiny to ensure they truly need marijuana for a medical condition and limits on amounts to ensure they aren’t getting excess and giving or selling it to friends

In Further Detail: These concentrates can be particularly dangerous. Although there are no statewide caps on THC is Colorado law (Vermont has a cap of 30%), concentrates can routinely fly up to the 70% level. And the real fact is that we don’t know the effects of continued exposure to THC levels this high. Preliminary data indicates the body adjusts, much like heavy drinkers of alcohol develop a tolerance and need more alcohol to feel the same intoxication levels as lighter drinkers who drink less. We know that like alcohol, marijuana can be dangerous in large amounts (which is why it is similarly regulated). We know that THC concentrates are increasing: in 2014 the average was 57% and in 2017 it was 69%. Some stores are advertising 95% products. Regulating high-THC products is also not new: in 2016 new laws were passed to regulate THC levels in edibles. So what does this bill do then? First, we desperately need more high quality research, particularly on the effect on developing brains (your brain is not fully developed until about 25). Second, we need to acknowledge reality here: there is a gap in our marijuana laws. You must be 21 years-old to buy retail marijuana. But you can obtain a medical marijuana card at younger ages and if you are 18, you don’t need a parent or guardian’s permission. So we need to make sure that those 18-20 year-olds really need medical marijuana in the first place, and second, ensure that they aren’t getting excess marijuana and turning around and selling it or giving it to their friends. Third, we need to treat medical marijuana more like a prescription. Real prescriptions have limits and instructions on use. Let’s not go overboard on the concentrate limits either: there are no limits on regular marijuana grown from plants and a medical prescription can point a patient toward those or simply override the daily purchase limit. And fourth and perhaps most controversially, while we study effect of high concentrate THC, we need to limit the amount someone can buy at one time in both medical (unless prescription says otherwise) and retail and ensure people aren’t consuming too much in one go, this could be a particular problem for someone new to marijuana. In our rush to counteract the years of stupidity around marijuana use, we have to guard against swinging too far in the opposite direction. Marijuana is not harmless, it is a potent mind-altering drug much like alcohol (even if the degree to which it is less harmful can be debated). That is why we have an elaborate system set-up to regulate its use. So putting in some speed bumps while we examine concentrates more carefully is a common-sense approach. People will still be able to access whatever THC levels they want and still be able to purchase them regularly.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • As Arguments For states, we don’t know yet the impact of high THC concentrate usage, so we should act accordingly. That means not prejudging and setting up limits that infringe on the ability of Coloradans and their doctors to do what they believe is best for them
  • Alcohol, which is the frequent comparison for marijuana regulation, does more damage to health and wellness outcomes than marijuana and yet there are no upper limits on alcohol amounts or amounts of alcohol someone can legally purchase
  • An 18 year-old is an adult and should be treated as such. Old enough to vote and die serving our county, yet we don’t trust them not to abuse the medical marijuana system? If someone is in fact doing so, then by all means prosecute them like you would anyone else doing something illegal. But remember that this is for medical marijuana, so for a medical need. And one thing we absolutely do know: marijuana is much better than opioids for pain management
  • Having to purchase your prescription every day (for concentrates that hit the daily cap) is not at all treating medical marijuana like other prescriptions and may drive people into other pain management methods

In Further Detail: The future is coming and it is coming fast. Federal legalization of marijuana is a question of when, not if, and with that legalization will come a lot more competition for our multi-billion state industry. What we don’t need to do is bring back echoes of past unfounded fears to make it more difficult for this industry to operate. Because the key here is readily acknowledged in Arguments For: we don’t know. There are some assumptions about high THC concentrate usage but no real evidence yet of harm as compared to low THC usage. So by all means study the issue, it is important, but let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here. Keep allowing Coloradans and their doctors to make the decisions they feel are best for them. Because we all should be crystal clear about one thing: alcohol does far more damage than marijuana and you don’t see laws limiting the potency or amount of alcohol someone can legally purchase. We also need to treat an 18 year-old like an adult. They are old enough to vote and die in the military serving our country. We don’t need special laws just for them in this case, if someone is violating the law and distributing marijuana illegally then by all means prosecute them but that should be true of anyone in the state, not just because someone isn’t 21 yet. Remember that this is for medical marijuana, so we are talking about someone with a medical need. And another we absolutely do know: marijuana is much better for pain management than opioids in terms of potential harmful impacts. So the requirement that most folks who are using concentrate go daily(!) to fill their prescriptions could do more harm than good by pushing them into something else to manage their pain. If the idea is to treat medical marijuana like other prescriptions that isn’t it.


Bottom Line:

  • This doesn’t go far enough. We need full-blown THC limits to ensure we are keeping Coloradans safe from the harmful aspects of marijuana use. Alcohol is not an appropriate comparison here because pure alcohol tastes terrible and no one wants it. These concentrates on the other hand are scientifically manipulated and probably soon someone will be selling 100% THC. It’s dangerous and needs to stop, period, not just some tiny limits on purchase amounts that won’t slow too many people down

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB21-1317

SB21-056 Expand Cannabis-based Medicine At Schools (Holbert (R), Gonzales (D)) [Van Winkle (R), Gray (D)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: $30,838
Fiscal Impact: Negligible this year beyond appropriation

Goal:

  • Require schools to permit storage, possession, and administration of non-smokeable marijuana-based medicine on school grounds by volunteer school personnel to students with valid medical marijuana recommendations based on a plan agreed to by the school and the parents. Previously this was left to the discretion of the school principal. Primary caregivers were already allowed to do this, previously they had to remove the marijuana from school grounds when finished administering it

Description:

Schools must treat medical marijuana in this form as no different from any other prescription medication when it comes to doctor’s recommendation to use it. They are not allowed to discipline volunteers in any way for participating.

The law already contains provisions that the administration must be done in a non-disruptive manner and governing the creation of a plan that meets school district policies. The bill keeps provisions that allow schools to opt-out if they can demonstrate they will lose federal funding. It also keeps provisions around keeping the medical marijuana in a locked storage container but adds that the storage of the drug must not significantly delay access to it in an emergency.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This is a matter of children’s health and the simple fact is that non-smokeable medical marijuana has been found to be helpful to students who experience seizures. No parent should have to choose between public education and their child’s well-being
  • The initial law in 2018 allowing caregivers to administer this drug is being flaunted and resisted in some parts of the state
  • To ensure our kids get the care they need, we have to strengthen this law and remove the principal’s discretion. It is still a volunteer basis to administer the drug

In Further Detail: This is a prescription drug that helps some children experience better health, and can be useful in dangerous situations like seizures, more useful and better than other available drugs. There is no excuse for denying this beneficial and non-dangerous (at least in the sense that prescription drugs are not dangerous) to our kids or forcing parents to pull their kids out of school because they cannot access it. The law passed in 2018 is being ignored in some parts of the state (meaning they aren’t even allowing parents to administer the drug as required)  and some have gone so far as to enact their own rules and ordinances in direct contradiction to the law. That is not how our system works. So we need a stronger and more definite law to protect the health of our kids. It is still a volunteer basis to actually administer the drug, so no one will be forced against their will. But enough with the rest of this. Times are changing. Colorado is no longer close to unique in our legalization of marijuana and it is very clearly only a matter of time before federal law changes.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This remains an illegal drug at the federal level. Keeping on property and administering it to kids is a federal crime. Until that changes we should not be doing this. There are other medications kids can take
  • There is no guarantee that the federal government will continue turning a blind eye to all of this

In Further Detail: This is a federal crime, full stop. No one disputes this, of course at the moment the federal government is choosing to ignore the law and not enforce it in Colorado, but there is no guarantee that will continue and if that situation changes, the state cannot protect anyone who engaged in illegal behavior from federal prosecution.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-056

SB21-078 Lost Or Stolen Firearms (Jaquez Lewis (D), Danielson (D)) [Sullivan (D), Herod (D)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

AMENDED: Moderate

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Requires any firearm owner who reasonably believes that a firearm has been either lost or stolen to report this to a law enforcement agency within five days of discovery. Report can be made by family member or someone who resides with the owner. Report must include manufacturer, model, serial number, caliber, and any other identification number or distinguishing mark. Does not apply to licensed gun dealers.

Description:

Within five days of receiving the report, law enforcement must enter information into national crime information center database and report information to Colorado Bureau of Investigation crime database. If someone finds a lost firearm they have reported as stolen, they must inform law enforcement. First violation of this law is a petty offense civil infraction with a $25 fine while second or subsequent violations are a class 3 unclassified misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • A lot of guns are stolen every year in this country—basically one every two minutes. Knowing about the theft helps law enforcement to try to get illegal weapons off the streets and crack down on straw purchasers (people buying guns for others who cannot legally buy them)
  • The penalties in the bill are extremely mild—especially for first offenses. This is about behavior change, not punishment

In Further Detail: Nationwide nearly 40% of lost or stolen guns are not reported. And a gun is stolen in the US every two minutes. These guns generally go straight into illegal gun markets where they can end up in the hands of criminals. And the vast majority are never recovered, around 11% nationwide. A study estimated that 19,630 guns were stolen in Colorado between 2012 and 2015. Stolen guns were involved in nearly 200 crimes in Denver and Aurora between 2013 and 2015. Of course securely storing your gun is the prime way to keep it from being stolen, but that is the subject of a different bill. This bill is about what happens when a gun is stolen. Knowing about the theft allows law enforcement to spot trends, deploy resources, and try to get illegal weapons off the streets. Not having mandatory reporting also allows individuals to act as straw purchasers: buy guns for those who cannot legally buy them. Then when the guns are used in connection with a crime to simply say the gun was stolen. A version of this law already exists in other states and the first time penalty is extremely mild. Subsequent offenses can be used to crack down on straw purchasers. We are trying to change basic behavior here, not punish victims. We have heard for years that is not guns that kill people, but people who kill people. Anyone who genuinely believes that should be behind mandatory reporting of stolen weapons.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • We should not punish victims of a crime
  • The steps from knowing a weapon is stolen to actually recovering it are fairly opaque and police have other tools to deal with straw purchasers

In Further Detail: You can dress it up any way you want but this punishes the victim of a crime. And the second offense carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail. We aren’t going to stop crime by penalizing crime victims. Gun theft is obviously a large problem but the steps from: police knowing about the theft to recovering the weapon before it is used in a crime are fairly opaque. Police can already zero in on straw purchasers by tracing guns used in crime back to them. Of course people should report if their weapon is stolen, but we should not punish someone who doesn’t.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-078

SB21-082 Alcohol Beverage Festival For Tastings And Sales (Priola (R), Pettersen (D)) [Mullica (D), Williams (R)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: $511,210
Fiscal Impact: None, all will be recovered, including appropriation, through increased fees

Goal:

  • Open the ability to hold tasting festivals, currently only available to wineries that don’t operate retail, to a wide range of alcohol licensees. These festivals also permit retail sales on-site, even if the licensee doesn’t have that sort of license, which the bill keeps.

Description:

Bill also keeps limit of 9 festivals every 12 months lasting no more than 72 hours per permit and the ability for other same-license holders to participate. Exact licensees permitted by the bill to hold festivals include:

  • Retail liquor store
  • Beer and wine
  • Hotel and restaurant
  • Tavern
  • Retail gaming
  • Brew pub
  • Arts
  • Vintner’s restaurant
  • Distillery pub
  • Winery operating a sales room
  • Spirits manufacturer operating a sales room
  • Beer manufacturer operating a sales room

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This is just the ability to apply for a license, it must still be approved so no one will be pulling a fast one on the state and operating without approval
  • This just brings baseline fairness to the state’s alcohol industry—these tasting fairs are wonderful opportunities for local businesses to get exposure to the public

In Further Detail: First, it is important to note that all the bill does is open application for these festival licenses up to the rest of the alcohol industry. Any festival would still have to be approved, according to state rules. All this bill does is level the playing field in the state’s alcohol industry. Why should wineries that don’t sell wine at their location be the only ones allowed to use the wonderful marketing and sales opportunity that a tasting festival brings? Safety concerns are overblown, festivals must provide for the safety of participants as part of their permit.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This takes something that is designed to boost Colorado’s wine industry, which is a very small fish in a huge ocean, and instead allows it to benefit anyone selling or making alcohol in Colorado—which is likely to drown out the very people who were supposed to be the ones the law helps: Colorado wineries
  • This could be dangerous. People get intoxicated on hard alcohol much more quickly than wine (obviously) so it follows that a hard alcohol tasting greatly raises the risk of alcohol-related dangers like drunk driving

In Further Detail: This law is supposed to be helping our state wine industry, in particular wineries that aren’t selling their wines at their winery. These are tiny players in a massive, global, industry that need the extra boost of being able to hold these festivals. If we open the floodgates to everyone, we are likely to drown out our local wineries in a sea of internationally distributed products that are more familiar to regular folks. This also could be highly dangerous. Even wine tastings can produce drunken behavior if people aren’t careful, and hard alcohol is much more likely to cause rapid and unintentional drunkenness. That in turn greatly raises the risk of alcohol-related dangers like drunk driving.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-082

SB21-086 Beer Delivery By Third-party Services (Liston (R)) [Geitner (R))'

KILLED BY SENATE COMMITTEE

AMENDED: Moderate

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Allow retailers with fewer than 7,500 square feet of premises to use third-party delivery service to deliver beer so long as the person making the delivery is at least 21. Local licensing authorities may require a permit for this activity

Description:

Currently all retailers must use their own employees to make beer deliveries (and alcohol of any kind).

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • This will help smaller liquor stores, who many not be able to use an employee or either a company vehicle or employee vehicle to deliver alcohol but could pay a third-party to do so
  • This is limited to just beer, and we already let delivery services deliver alcohol from restaurants

In Further Detail: Many smaller liquor stores simply cannot afford to use an employee to deliver alcohol, which also involves either a company vehicle or insurance liability requirements for the employee’s vehicle. This bill would let them participate in the growing alcohol delivery industry, but just for beer, not harder alcohol or wine. We already let delivery services like DoorDash deliver sealed alcohol from restaurants, so this is not much of a stretch from current policy—single drinks, not bottles of alcohol.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • We shouldn’t be letting alcohol delivery for restaurants continue (it was essentially an emergency measure to mitigate COVID related business impacts), for the same reason we should not pass this bill: licensing and accountability.
  • Limiting this to smaller stores is also unfair to larger ones

In Further Detail: Alcohol delivery for restaurants is in essence a temporary measure to mitigate the fact that they all had to close for in-person dining. The reason for not allowing that to continue or expanding it to liquor stores is our licensing structure. The liquor store holds the license to sell alcohol. They have to meet strict standards to do so and whatever happens in their store is on them and their license. Bringing a third-party into this that holds no special license to handle alcohol at all does serious damage to our ability to regulate and hold accountable people operating in a business field where they have a potentially dangerous product that is illegal to sell to those under the age of 21. But if we are going to take the step of doing this, we should not be singling out small liquor stores at the expense of larger ones who might want to do this too.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-086

SB21-111 Program To Support Marijuana Entrepreneurs (Moreno (D), Gonzales (D)) [Herod (D), Ortiz (D)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

Appropriation: $4 million from marijuana tax cash fund
Fiscal Impact: None beyond appropriation

Goal:

  • Create a program to provide loans and grants to marijuana social equity licensees. Loans are to provide seed capital and cover on-going businesses expenses. Grants are to support innovation and job creation. Funds the program with $4 million from the marijuana tax cash fund

Description:

Social equity license qualifications are: Colorado resident, no disciplinary action against a license held by the state, own at least 51% of a marijuana business and have meet one of the following criteria: lived for at least 15 years in an opportunity zone or disproportionate impact zone, applicant or applicant’s family member was arrested or convicted of a marijuana offense, or their household income did not exceed the state’s threshold for the program.

The fund for this program is called the Marijuana Entrepreneur Fund and the program is to be managed by the Office of Economic Development but that office can use a partner entity. On-going business expenses can include: rent, leases, licensing fees, regulatory adherence, marijuana testing, equipment, capital improvements, and training and retention of workers. Grants can also go to organizations that support innovation and job creation of social equity licensees.

State must determine rules for eligibility, grant and loan amounts, application deadlines, loan terms, and anything else required to run the program.

Program is also to provide technical assistance for all marijuana businesses owners, with priority given to social equity licensees who have grants or loans through the program. This can consist of business plan development, consulting services, and supporting existing public or private technical assistance programs.

State is to report by July 1 of 2022 and 2023 on how the office is using the money provided to the program.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Marijuana is a big business in this state that still disproportionately excludes people of color and those with past marijuana convictions
  • Getting people with marijuana convictions into the business of selling it legally helps move people out of the gray market (selling a legal drug in an illegal manner)
  • We are at a critical hardening juncture of this industry where it will become increasingly difficult for new players to break-in, so help to social equity licensees is justified

In Further Detail: Marijuana has become a big business in this state: over $2 billion in annual revenues and more than 40,000 people employed. But it still disproportionately excludes people of color. In Denver, 75% of owners of marijuana businesses are white and so are 68% of employees, despite whites being 55% of Denver’s population. This is a widely known, nationwide problem. In addition, one of the original elements of implementation was that no one with a past marijuana conviction could obtain a license. That was recently changed, in recognition that moving people out of the gray market and into the licensed marketplace remains an important task in Colorado. Part of that is allowing people to use their skills legally. As with any emerging industry there tends to be a hardening of the various businesses within that industry after several years as competition shakes out. It then becomes much harder to break in for new players. We are at that point with the marijuana industry and so it is appropriate to give a little extra help to those with a social equity license to try to even their playing field.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • Social equity licensees already get some privileges regular licensees do not
  • We need to let the market work: it is not fair to give extra state money to social equity licensees that regular license holders have no access to

In Further Detail: We should not be putting our thumbs on the scales in this manner. We have appropriately given social equity licensees the ability to get regular marijuana licenses so they can open businesses and they already qualify for some benefits regular license holders do not (including reduced fees). Now is the time to let the market work: those social equity licensees who can operate solid businesses can build them under the same rules as everyone else with no extra money injections from the state government.


Bottom Line:

  • This remains a federal crime. Everyone growing or selling marijuana in this state is violating federal law and there is no guarantee the federal government will continue to look the other way. Until it is no longer a federal crime we should not be continuing to normalize it in Colorado and we certainly should not giving state tax money as incentives for people to open more of these businesses

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-111

SB21-133 Donated Alcohol Beverages For Special Events (Coram (R)) [Catlin (R), Will (R)]

SIGNED INTO LAW

AMENDED: Very Significant

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

  • Allow clubs that are members-only ordinarily to keep donated alcohol at special events with their own inventory and keep it and sell it after the event is over in the manner they sell their own alcohol

Description:

This is a bit complex but in essence, a special event where alcohol is sold can be undertaken by a non-profit or political campaign. If the event occurs at a place with a permanent liquor license to sell to the public and it is always open to the public, then the special event can occur without any other licenses. This includes clubs open to the general public. But if the event occurs at a club that is members-only ordinarily (and some other places too), then a special event license is required. That is the situation this bill is addressing. In all cases donated alcohol must come from a licensed entity.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • If a members-only club holds a special event and gets alcohol donated for that event, right now it has to keep that alcohol separate and must return it after the event. This bill simply allows them to keep it and sell it. It’s optional, so if whoever donated the alcohol wants it back as part of the deal, then that would still be fine. There’s no public safety issue here and no one selling alcohol who isn’t already allowed to. It’s just they only sell to their own members.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-133

SB21-134 Retail Liquor Stores Additional Licenses (Bridges (D), Lundeen (R)) [Gray (D), Larson (R)]

KILLED BY BILL SPONSORS

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Negligible

Goal:

  • Put liquor stores on the same footing as drug stores when it comes to number of liquor licenses an individual can own by removing the requirement that liquor stores owners be Colorado residents to obtain additional liquor licenses and changing the number of additional licenses they can obtain via a gradual ramp up of licenses to 2037, after which liquor stores can obtain an unlimited number. Just like drug stores looking to add more stores, liquor store license owners are required to purchase and then merge at least two licenses within the same licensing jurisdiction into one if they are looking to add a third (or more) location. In effect, no increases in total number of liquor licenses in the state through this behavior: must buy two in order to add one

Description:

Currently liquor stores can get only get three additional licenses after 2027. This bill changes it to five total by 2021, 8 by 2022, 13, by 2027, 20 by 2032, and unlimited number after 2037. Bill allows state to set a fee for the license merger transaction, but cannot be higher than $1,000. Bill also prohibits liquor stores from using self-checkout, must ID everyone purchasing liquor (previously had to look under 50) and requires they maintain certification as responsible alcohol vendors.

Additional Information:

Licenses for purchase and merge must be pre 2016. If there are more than two within the allowed radius (1,500 or 3,000) then the store looking to expand must purchase all of them. If there are none, the store must looking to neighboring jurisdictions.


Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Liquor stores should not be treated differently than drug stores
  • The rules about how far away you have to be from existing liquor stores are still in effect, so no swooping in drive someone out of business
  • Having to buy two licenses to add one means if anything this sort of behavior will results in fewer liquor licenses in the state

In Further Detail: We should not treat drug stores and liquor stores differently in this multi-location respect. The rules surrounding how far away from an existing liquor store you are allowed to request a new license (1,500 feet or 3,000 in small towns) are still in effect so one company can swoop in and put an existing store out of business. The same rules apply for expansion: have to buy out two to expand one, so we won’t be increasing the number of liquor stores in the state (quite the contrary if any of them expand). It was also not necessary to require Colorado ownership of these multi-location stores, we don’t do that with nearly all businesses in the state. Not being allowed to use self-checkout is obvious, we need a human being checking for proper ID. Drug stores already have this requirement. And we shouldn’t fuss around with age when thinking about checking ID, just check everyone.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • Drug stores are different than liquor stores: they must sell at least 20% food so they have less space to sell alcohol
  • Expansion effects will likely be different with liquor stores than more homogenous to begin with drug stores

In Further Detail: Drug stores and liquor stores are quite different, drug stores must sell at least 20% food so they, by dint of sheer physical space, are not going to be offering as much liquor for sale. And so while the rules for expansion might have the same limits, the effect may be quite different. A variety of different types of liquor stores are good for consumers, as different owners will have different emphases, whereas one owner with multiple stores is more likely to set up the same thing in a different spot. Drug stores on the other hand, with more limited space, are more likely to be homogeneous to begin with.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-134

SB21-256 Local Regulation Of Firearms (Fenberg (D), Moreno (D)) [Hooton (D), Daugherty (D)]

PASSED

AMENDED: Minor

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

Remove the current prohibition on local governments setting their own ordinances, regulations, and laws around the sale, purchase, transfer, or possession of firearms, ammunition, firearm components, or accessories as well as around prohibiting concealed carry of handguns, even with a valid permit, in buildings or specific areas within the jurisdiction of the local government. Any local restriction must be at least as restrictive as state law.

Description:

Allows local governments to set their own ordinances, regulations, and laws around the sale, purchase, transfer, or possession of firearms, ammunition, firearm components, or accessories as well as around prohibiting concealed carry of handguns, even with a valid permit, in buildings or specific areas within the jurisdiction of the local government. All such deviations from state law cannot be less restrictive than state law. For concealed carry, if a local government decides to enact something more restrictive, they must post signs at public entrances to the buildings or areas informing the public that concealed carry is prohibited. Special districts and institutions of higher education can enact their own concealed carry bans. Penalties for non-compliance must be a civil penalty and no more than a $50 fine for a first offense. Anyone who refuses to leave the premises can be subject to criminal penalty.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Boulder had an assault weapons ban struck down just days before the Kings Soopers shooting (although the shooter in that case was from Arvada and would not have been affected) and the University of Colorado attempted to ban concealed carry on its campus in 2012 but ran afoul of the same state law
  • All this bill does is allow local communities to make their own choices (so long as they are at least as restrictive as state law). It is entirely constitutional to ban concealed carry or to have an assault weapons ban
  • Colorado is one of just two states that forces all colleges to allow concealed carry in all circumstances. Young people, drugs, alcohol, and guns are not a good mix and the good guy with a gun is in the vast majority of cases a fantasy that is more likely to result in shooting the wrong person or injuring bystanders
  • Local bans may not stop every shooting but we sometimes apply too much logic and cold reasoning to situations where highly unstable individuals are involved. Some people may in fact be daunted by not being able to buy an AR-15 in their community and not seek it out elsewhere. Just because a law doesn’t stop every mass shooting doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it to stop even one

In Further Detail: This is in direct response to recent events in the state. Although it would not have affected the King Soopers shooter, Boulder had an assault weapons ban, which had been enacted by its local representatives, struck down just days before that shooting. Because of existing state law, that this bill reverses, which does not allow any local jurisdictions to preempt state law in this area. Back in 2012 the University of Colorado attempted to ban concealed weapons on its campus, it ran afoul of the same law. If there are communities in the state that don’t want to be more restrictive than state law, this bill allows them to keep functioning as they are. But for those places that do want more restrictive laws (which are by the way entirely constitutional, they exist in other places and we had an assault weapons ban on the federal books for decades that disappeared not due to a court challenge but lack of action in Congress) this bill lets them do just that. Let’s also be clear about the precedents when it comes to concealed carry restrictions. No less a conservative judge than Antonin Scalia wrote that the 2nd amendment does not cast the validity of laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools. We of course already ban concealed carry on K-12 school grounds. In fact, there are only two (TWO!) states that force colleges to allow concealed carry in circumstances: Colorado and Utah. There are ten others that allow it in some circumstances with leaves 38 other states that don’t allow it at all. Beyond the fallacy of the good guy with a gun argument, which we’ll get to, college is also a place of heavy drug and alcohol use, where mental illness can sometimes reveal itself for the first time, and a place where a high number of young adults without fully developed brains, in particular the critical areas dealing with risk (doesn’t happen until your mid 20s). This is not a place for concealed weapons. As for the good guy with the gun, civilians are not trained to assess and react to active shooter situations and may be just as likely to shoot innocent bystanders as the gunman. At the shooting at the STEM school in 2019 a security guard who was not supposed to have a concealed weapon mistakenly shot at a responding police officer and missed, wounding two students. In addition, this lack of training may result in a tragedy where a concealed carry individual believes someone has a gun when in fact they do not. It is also nearly impossible for police reacting to the scene to suss out who the good guys and the bad guys are, which can (and has) led to police shooting a bystander who was trying to help. This happens far too often with trained police officers already. Since Columbine, police training to react to these mass shooter incidents has improved greatly and they are more likely to resolve any active shooter situation in the best manner possible. Civilians are also more likely to be sloppy with their guns, leaving them in bathrooms or classrooms for others to find (this has happened in other states). In addition, while it is true that permit holders are vetted, we don’t allow them in the state capitol, where the legislators work. It isn’t a stretch to extend that courtesy elsewhere. On the confusion front, the bill requires signs to help people understand and any such changes are likely to be extremely public and hotly debated. As for the other half of the bill, yes it is true that local rules around banning items like assault weapons may have more limited impact if someone can just go 10 minutes down the road to get what they want. It is also true that the Boulder shooter was actually from Arvada, so the ban would not have helped. But sometimes we apply too much logic and cold rational thought to these situations. For the most part, mass shooters are highly unstable individuals and it is entirely plausible that someone thinking about attempting a mass shooting might be daunted by being unable to buy an AR-15 or similar weapon of war in their area and not take the extra effort to go elsewhere. Will this stop every mass shooting in a community that has such laws? Of course not, it is ridiculous to say that if a gun safety law won’t stop all shootings than it isn’t worth it. Because if it prevents one, that is people who are alive who would not otherwise be. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and children who don’t realize that but for this one gun safety law, they would be dead. So if the law is constitutional (check), supported by the local citizens (check), and has the potential to save lives (check), we need to enact it without worrying if it will solve all of our problems at once.

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • This is a recipe for confusion on both halves of the bill, with particularly problematic confusion on concealed carry, where one minute you are fine and the next you are breaking the law. It is also unequal treatment when it comes to access to firearms across the state
  • If state borders aren’t enough to ensure efficacy of gun safety laws (Chicago frequently blames Indiana law for the amount of guns in the city) then local borders sure won’t. In fact they will probably be much worse
  • We need to allow people with valid concealed carry permits to protect themselves and others. Otherwise the only people at these locations with guns will be the bad guys when they show up. Having a concealed carry permit means vetting by the state
  • College campuses can be dangerous places for women in particular and they deserve the right to protect themselves as they see fit

In Further Detail: This is a recipe for confusion. One moment you are perfectly fine with your concealed carry weapon and then the next you are breaking the law. Maybe, like most people, you don’t read every sign you come across or don’t pay obsessive attention to the news. Or maybe you show up, see the sign, and then what? If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your gun in your car (or didn’t travel with one), you have to go all the way home to leave your gun in a safe place? And for the other half, not only is this a burden on all gun buyers and sellers to keep up with local ordinances and laws, it is also unequal treatment across the state. Let’s say Boulder reenacts its ban. Now anyone who lives in Boulder cannot exercise their constitutional right to arms in the same way someone living in Fort Collins can. Just a quirk of geography. And the effectiveness of such actions could be slim to none. An argument you hear a lot from states that have strict gun laws but lots of gun violence is that people are simply going across state lines. The prime example of this is Chicago and Indiana. Well multiply that by a thousand if all you have to do is go across city lines. On concealed carry, the elimination of the ability to have concealed guns at various locations, including colleges, means the only people with guns at schools are bad guys, which leads to the unfortunate shootings that have become all too common being worse as there is no one the scene to intervene. A good guy with a gun on the scene could nip many of these situations in the bud, as we have seen several times in the last year where the death toll could have been higher but for the immediate intervention of a bystander who had a gun. Someone has to have a valid permit in order to do this, so they have already been vetted by the state, to carry a gun around in public situations. Think about women on college campuses who want to protect themselves with more than just pepper spray. Or who fear a stalker or abuser. We must allow these folks the ability to protect themselves as they see fit.


Bottom Line:

  • There are two clear steps here that would go a long way toward ending gun violence. Ban both of these things, statewide. All those reasons listed in Arguments For for the fallacy of good guys with guns applies wherever you are. We should just remove concealed carry entirely from state laws. And assault weapons, there is simply no reason to need a weapon of war designed to kill as many people as possible within a short period of time. None whatsoever. That’s why we passed an assault weapons ban in 1994. Subsequent studies have shown that since 2004, when the ban lapsed, we’ve seen a rise in the number of fatalities due to mass shootings (not number of shootings themselves) which makes complete sense: you made it harder to kill a lot of people within a short period of time, so mass shootings resulted in fewer causalities. The Washington Post just did a full write-up on the research and concluded that previous claims by fact checkers in the wake of the ban’s expiration that it did not reduce death were wrong. So let’s join 8 other states that already have assault weapons bans

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-256

SB21-270 Increase Alcohol Beverages On-premises Production (Bridges (D), Hisey (R)) [A. Valdez (D), Larson (R)]

PASSED

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal:

Increases the production limits for distillery pubs from 45,000 to 875,000 liters per year and for vintner’s restaurants from 250,000 to 925,000 liters per year.

Description:

Increases the production limits for distillery pubs from 45,000 to 875,000 liters per year and for vintner’s restaurants from 250,000 to 925,000 liters per year.

Distillery pubs and vintner’s restaurants serve and sell food and alcohol for on-premise consumption.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: n/a

Arguments For:

Bottom Line:

  • Brew pubs producing beer limit at about 20 million servings per year, this brings the law more into alignment for serving sizes across licenses. It will also provide an opportunity for producers to pivot into becoming distillery pubs or vintner’s restaurants. That was obviously not possible under the current setup as the production limits are too restrictive. There are only 11 vintner’s restaurants and 6 distillery pubs in the state right now. As for the concern about manufacturing vs distillery pub or vintner’s restaurant, the law is already setup to handle this issue, it is important to remember that brew pubs already exist in our structure with production limits basically the same as what the bill brings distillery pubs and vintner’s restaurants to. No competitive advantage is gained through such a license (right now it is quite the contrary, which the bill seeks to rectify)

Arguments Against:

Bottom Line:

  • We have different standards for alcohol manufacturers and if someone wants to make this much alcohol they are really a manufacturer and should be operating under that license

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB21-270