HomeHome InsuranceColorado bill would require liability insurance for gun owners

Colorado bill would require liability insurance for gun owners

DENVER (KDVR) — Gun legislation continues to advance at the Colorado Capitol before lawmakers wrap up for the year. A bill requiring gun owners to insure their guns cleared another hurdle Wednesday.

The bill took a big step by advancing to the Senate floor. Groups opposing the measure say if it becomes law, it will likely face legal challenges.

“Colorado has been a leader in a number of policy areas. I think gun safety is one of them,” said state Sen. Chris Hansen.

Hansen is hoping Colorado continues to lead on gun policy by passing a new bill he is sponsoring requiring gun owners to get insurance coverage for their firearms.

“This has been a long conversation nationally about how we can do a better job of handling liability and some of the costs that come with firearm accidents or misuse. So, we’ve really taken a closer look at what we do with car insurance and home insurance and we think that this is a really great way to help folks cover that liability, but do it in a way that doesn’t become to onerous for gun owners,” Hansen said about the measure.

Under the proposal, the insurance policy would cover losses and damages suffered by any person other than the policyholder. Failure to maintain a firearm policy would result in a civil infraction with a minimum fine of $500 for the first offense. Sponsors said they do not believe the cost of insuring a firearm will deter or disenfranchise gun owners.

“In most cases, it’s already covered by your homeowners insurance, we’ve just got to make sure that it is covered in people’s policies. If you’ve got a safe storage device, a gun safe, et cetera — that’s lowering your liability, likely takes your insurance change to near zero. We also have pieces in the bill that allow folks to opt out if there is a problem with affordability,” Hansen explained.

People who can prove they cannot afford to add this coverage to their policy or have been denied coverage by insurers can petition a court to be exempt from the requirement if it becomes law.

Opponents plan legal action if provisions are kept

Even with these provisions intact, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said they plan to sue if it becomes law.

“If this does pass, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners fully intends to fight this out in the courts. We think that we have the Bruen decision and Heller decision on our side as well as other previous decisions that have been landmark on the prohibition on licensing of liberty or fees for liberty. So, obviously, we are 100% opposed to this bill,” said Ian Escalante, director of operations for the gun rights group.

Before making it to the Senate, the bill narrowly cleared the House over the weekend with a vote of 33-29. The bill passed 3-2 out of committee along party lines Wednesday, moving it onto the Senate floor.

If it clears all of its Senate votes, the measure would need one final vote in the House to advance to the governor’s desk.

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