Colorado bill would fine firearm dealers $250K for failing to secure $400 permit

The bill passed by one vote in the Senate Finance Committee shortly after 1 a.m. on Friday.

Published: May 3, 2024 9:04pm

(The Center Square) -

Firearm dealers in Colorado would be required to obtain a permit to sell guns or face up to a $250,00 fine and be charged with a felony if a bill advancing through the legislature is passed.

The bill passed by one vote in the Senate Finance Committee shortly after 1 a.m. on Friday. The General Assembly ends its regular session on May 8.

The bill would require firearm dealers to obtain a state firearm dealer permit in order to “engage in the business of dealing in firearms and other destructive devices,” according to the text of House Bill 24-1353. Failure to comply would be an unclassified felony and punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.

The 20-page bill is sponsored by Reps. Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins, and Emily Sirota, D-Denver, and Sens. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, and Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. If the bill passes, it would cost the state $724,607 this year, $3.1 million next year and $2.7 million in fiscal year 2026, according to research from Colorado’s nonpartisan legislative council staff.

The fee for the permit would be $400 and may be adjusted annually by the Department of Revenue, the agency responsible for issuing the permits.

“Liquor stores, restaurants and hair dressers all need a state license to operate and this bill says that gun stores should have one too,” Bridges said in a statement. “This new licensing requirement shouldn’t have any negative impact on stores that follow state laws, which is nearly all of them. But it will ensure that every employee in every store knows what our state laws are and that they follow them. It’s an important way to keep our communities safe, keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, and give Colorado the basic oversight it needs over these stores.”

The bill passed out of the House by a vote of 40-21 on April 20 and was assigned to the Senate Finance Committee on April 22.

“We're going to keep fighting,” Ian Escalante of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said in a video posted on the organization's X account, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “We're going to do our absolute (best) to kill this bill.”

The bill would require firearm dealers to hold a federal firearms license to obtain a state permit. Dealers would be denied the new state permit for any denial, suspension or revocation of a license issued by a federal, state or local government during the previous three years.

The bill also would require dealers and employees to undergo background checks every three years and complete training on how to prevent theft, identify “straw purchasers” and people at risk of self harm and fraudulent activities. The state also would ensure compliance with state and federal laws through random and regular inspections.

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