Attorney General Phil Weiser is partnering with local law enforcement officials across Colorado to remind firearm owners to safely secure their guns when not in use in order to stem the rise in the number of guns stolen each year.
Weiser and law enforcement partners released two public service announcements February first, highlighting the importance of responsible gun ownership by safely storing guns to limit theft and misuse.
“Across the state, law enforcement professionals know that responsible and safe gun storage saves lives,” Weiser said. “Together, building off of a model developed by the Larimer County Juvenile Gun Safety coalion, we encourage Colorado gun owners to safely secure their firearms. Securing firearms appropriately means that they can’t be stolen or misused by persons—especially children —who should have no access to them. In Colorado, we are dedicated to looking out for our neighbors and taking responsibility; safe storage of firearms is a part of that tradition.”
The public service announcements focus on securing firearms safely—particularly by not leaving unlocked firearms in cars and by using safe storage devices indoors whenever not in use. Hundredsof unsecured firearms are stolen from vehicles each year, and reports indicate that vehicle thefts are on the rise in Colorado.
According to Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, between 2016 and 2019, more than 800 firearms were stolen from homes and cars in Larimer County, many of which were left in unlocked cars or improperly secured in homes.
“Coloradans can all agree—responsible firearms ownership is important to community safety,” Smith said. “After two teenage deaths in the county were linked to stolen firearms, we were compelled to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future and formed a county-wide coalition to promote responsible ownership and safe storage of firearms. The Colorado Attorney General’s Office took notice and offered to expand that safe storage and responsible ownership campaign statewide. We are proud to be a part of that effort.”
Youth gun violence is also on the rise. Dr. Emmy Betz, associate professor of emergency medicine and director of the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, says keeping firearms secure is a vital to prevent child deaths.
“As a parent, keeping my kids healthy and safe means everything to me,” she said. “Sadly, as an ER doctor and researcher, I know that each year around 100 youth in Colorado die by suicide.
Adolescence is a roller coaster of emotions and impulsive behavior, so even a teen who knows how to safely handle a firearm can be at risk of suicide on a bad day. That’s why it’s so important that parents with firearms keep them locked up and inaccessible to kids and teens when unsupervised.”
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office partnered with the following on this initiative:
District Attorney Michael Dougherty, 20th Judicial District; Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle; Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock; District Attorney Christian Champagne, 6th Judicial District; La Plata County Sheriff Sean Smith; District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin, 8th Judicial District; Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith; Larimer County Director of Criminal Justice Services Emily Humphrey; Cliff Reidel, former district attorney, 8th Judicial District; District Attorney Dan Rubenstein, 21st Judicial District; Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis; Ouray County Sheriff Justin Perry; and Dr. Emmy Betz.