Colorado gun bills advance; Safe injection sites postponed indefinitely

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    04_23_24_am_headlines Jackie Sedley

Colorado Gun Bills Advance

State lawmakers have passed a series of gun bills, with one of them having received final approval from the state Senate.

House Bill 1174 passed the State Senate on a 20-14 vote yesterday, and needs only the signature of Governor Jared Polis to become law.

The new law would require in-person training and live-fire exercises for anyone applying for a concealed-carry permit in Colorado. It would also require eight hours of coursework followed by a test, according to the Denver Post.

The State Senate also passed House bill 1338 which says anyone leaving a gun in a vehicle must keep it in a “locked, hard-sided container.” 

The bill is expected to go next to a negotiating committee where they will discuss increased criminal penalties.

Three additional gun bills also cleared the State House late Saturday night, and are headed to the State Senate. The three Democratic-backed bills passed in spite of the objections of state Republicans.

House Bill 1270 makes liability insurance mandatory for gun owners, and also requires insurance companies to offer firearm liability. The policies would be to cover any injuries that come from a weapon accidentally discharging.

House Bill 1353 would require Colorado firearms dealers to have a permit, to follow sales regulations, provide annual training to employees, and to report any suspicious activities. Violators could be fined up to $250,000 and face felony charges.

The third proposed bill, HB 1349, would create an 11% excise tax on most firearm and ammunition sales. Revenue from the tax could go to crime victim services and shooting range safety programs, according to Colorado Politics.

Each of the three proposed bills were criticized by House Republicans, who said they would be in violation of the second amendment. But supporters counter that they would improve public safety.

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Safe Injection Sites Postponed Indefinitely

The state senate has also indefinitely postponed a bill that would have created so-called “safe injection sites” in Colorado.

Under the proposed House Bill 1028, people would have been able to bring controlled substances to the safe injection site location, and use them under the supervision of medical providers.

The authorization of such sites would have been left to local governments. The measure is similar to one that failed in the same committee last year.

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Boulder Gas Ban Update

The Boulder City Council has rescheduled a hearing to discuss the city’s new energy code. 

The city originally planned the hearing for last week. They postponed it to discuss the impact of Xcel Energy’s planned power shutdown two weeks ago. The city plans to implement their ban on gas in new residential buildings and most commercial buildings starting July 1st.

In the aftermath of the Xcel shutdown, some say that reducing the use of gas and increasing the reliance on electricity may not be a good idea, according to Boulder Reporting Lab.

The city’s sustainability senior manager, Carolyn Elam, told them that electricity powers all appliances, whether gas or electric. And gas outages, she said, can be more difficult to resolve. That said, she added that Xcel’s planned outage underscores the need for a new energy code. The new code will lead to more energy-efficient buildings, which would be a benefit during any future planned outages. The city has rescheduled the hearing to discuss the policy next month.

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RTD Expands Security

The Regional Transportation District or RTD is expanding its policing and security to around-the-clock coverage.

The added full-time coverage comes as an effort to increase personal safety of RTD employees and customers. 178 RTD passengers reported an assault or injury in 2021 and early 2022 according to 9News.  The Chief of RTD police said the introduction of an overnight team has been a priority for RTD police dependent on their hiring success.  

The department currently has 61 certified Transit Police officers. They plan to almost double that number by year end.  They say they also plan to also hire six mental health clinicians and five homeless outreach coordinators. 

According to a press release, RTDs expanded 24/7 police and security patrols will begin May 5th.

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Gray Wolf Death

The body of a gray wolf was found in Elbert County, southeast of Denver, earlier this month.

State Wildlife officials said that because gray wolves are on the endangered species list, the death is under investigation.

They also said that genetic testing confirmed it was a gray wolf from the Great Lakes wolf population, and is not one of the gray wolves released into Western Colorado late last year. All ten of those wolves were collared.

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