Law: Lost or Stolen Firearms

We are not lawyers and nothing here should be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice please contact an actual lawyer.

tl;dr

It will soon be mandatory in the State of Colorado for a firearm owner to report any firearm that they believe has been lost or stolen to the police within 5 days of discovering that it has been lost or stolen.

Key Points

This bill was signed by Governor Polis on April 19th and will become law sometime later this year after the legislative session ends. This article will be updated as soon as that is known.

This bill compels firearm owners to report a lost or stolen firearm to “a law enforcement agency” within five days of becoming aware that it was lost or stolen. While the law does not specify which law enforcement agency you should report it to, we recommend starting at your local city police or county sheriff and take any further instruction from them. It will be their responsibility to report the loss or theft to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation “Crime Information Database” within another 5 days of receiving the report.

You will have to have some basic information about the lost or stolen firearm to provide to law enforcement including:

  • Manufacturer (Examples: Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig, etc)
  • Model (Examples: :43x, M&P Shield EZ 9mm, P365, etc)
  • Serial Number (Typically found on the frame and will be engraved in metal)
  • Caliber (Examples: 9mm, .380, etc)
  • Any other distinguishing features of the firearm (Examples: Threaded barrel, Red dot sight, hot pink leopard print slide paint, etc)

So if the requirement will be to report these things, then the responsible thing to have is a list of all of your firearms that includes all of this information. This is typically a good idea to have for insurance purposes too. For privacy reasons, I would recommend you keep this list offline. Write it down in a notebook or on a piece of paper that you can keep with your important documents.

The final requirement of this bill is that if you find your firearm, or realize that it was not in fact stolen, you must report this to a law enforcement agency as well, within 5 days of finding the firearm. It makes the most sense to report this to the same local law enforcement that you provided the initial report to.

A person who is not the owner of the firearm, such as a spouse, may also report a firearm as stolen but they are not legally obligated to do so. If someone else reports the firearm as lost or stolen, the owner is not required to report it as well.

If you report your firearm as lost or stolen, you can not be additionally punished in the case that the firearm was not safely stored (another write up is coming soon on the bill recently passed that mandates the “safe storage” of firearms).

Punishments

The first time that it is determined that you have not properly reported a lost or stolen firearm, it is a civil infraction and a $25 fine. Every time after the first is punishable with an “Unclassified Misdemeanor” and a fine of up to $500.

Bill Summary

The following is the summary copied directly from the Colorado legislation page.

The bill requires an individual who owns a firearm to report the loss or theft of that firearm to a law enforcement agency within 5 days after discovering that the firearm was lost or stolen. A first offense for failure to make such a report is a petty offense civil infraction punishable by a $25 fine, and a second or subsequent offense is a class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine. The 5-day reporting requirement does not apply to a licensed gun dealer.

The bill requires a law enforcement agency that receives a report of a lost or stolen firearm to enter information about the lost or stolen firearm into the national crime information center database and report the information to the Colorado bureau of investigation.

SB21-078 2021 Regular Session

Links

Bill and Revisions: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb21-078
Final Signed Bill: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/2021a_078_signed.pdf

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