Proposed law repeals gun transfer background checks

Janelle O'Dea
Peter Nichols, owner of Northwest Pawn Shop in Craig, supports legislation that would repeal background checks in person-to-person firearm transfers.
Janelle O’Dea

— In an effort to make gun transactions less convoluted, several Colorado legislators are working to repeal a 2013 law that requires background checks for person-to-person gun transfers.

Senate Bill 15-086 “repeals the requirement that before any person who is not a licensed gun dealer transfers possession of a firearm to a transferee” must have a criminal background check from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation before the transaction is completed, the bill states.

The original legislation is more about gun registration than it is about background checks, said Sen. Laura Woods, R-Denver, a sponsor of the bill.

“That’s evident in the fact that they made it illegal for me to loan a gun to a family member or a friend, and if they keep it for more than 72 hours and give it back to me, they have to have a background check done on me,” Woods said.

Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume supports the change.

“I certainly think it will address one of the many issues with the gun legislation passed in 2013,” Hume said.

Those who favored the 2013 legislation were affected by mass shootings, including Jane Dougherty, the sister of a school psychologist killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. She believes the legislation makes gun ownership safer.

“Once again the Republicans in the legislature are demonstrating how out of touch they are with the people of Colorado,” Dougherty said in a statement. “Instead of coming up with solutions to make our state safer, they are pushing the gun lobby’s extremist agenda to make it easier for dangerous people to have access to guns.”

At Northwest Pawn Shop in Craig where guns are purchased and sold, owner Peter Nichols said his shop does not facilitate in person-to-person transfers because it creates a liability for the shop.

The only way they are involved in person-to-person transfers is by being the middleman, but in that situation, the gun would be transferred to the shop’s custody and then transferred back out to a new owner’s custody.

At one time, Nichols said he wanted to help folks with person-to-person firearm transfers, but his lawyers were not able to draw up an agreement that made financial sense.

Nichols said he supports the legislation.

“It does make it more difficult for individuals in Colorado to transfer firearms,” Nichols said.

He also supports legislation attempting to repeal a ban on ammunition magazines larger than 15 rounds.

“It’s another way for the state to raise money on people who constitutionally own those weapons and (we wanted to) say this is a silly requirement for background checks,” Woods said. “It’s a tax on the second amendment.”

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or or follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

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