DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law on Friday that banned build-at-home firearms without serial numbers in an effort to reduce gun violence.
The so-called ghost guns allow buyers to evade background checks and impede law enforcement's ability to trace a firearm's origin, and they've grown increasingly popular nationwide.
Eleven other states have already regulated ghost guns, which have been linked to high-profile mass shootings across the U.S. Under the new law, those who have such guns will be able to get them serialized at a licensed dealership by 2024. However, the dealer is required to run a background check before giving the firearm back.
The bill — Senate Bill 23-279 — was introduced in mid-April by Colorado Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, and Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver. It was sponsored by State Rep. Andrew Boesenecker and Rep. Junie Joseph, both Democrats.
After the signing, Sen. Fields called it a "very significant bill."
"They allow you to manufacture and build a gun in your home," she said. "So you can do it at your kitchen table, or maybe in your basement, and then you have a fully functioning gun, which could be used to harm someone or maybe commit suicide, or to maybe commit a crime. We're seeing an increased usage of ghost guns in the state, especially in our urban areas. What the bill will do is you can't order online and have it shipped to your home to build a gun."
She explained that anybody with a ghost gun already in their possession can take it to a gun dealership to have it serialized, and it will then be legal to have.
"It shows that there's a movement in Colorado, and the movement is to interrupt gun violence," she added.
Polis has signed multiple other gun control measures into law this year.
Ghost guns, youth violence among issues in final days of legislative session
In late April, he signed four bills into law, surrounded by the bills’ sponsors and activists who advocated for the policies aiming to curb gun violence. It marked the biggest slate of gun reforms in the state since a package of gun bills passed in 2021 in the wake of the Boulder King Soopers mass shooting.
"Coloradans deserve to be safe in our communities, in our schools, and our grocery stores, nightclubs. Everywhere in between, Coloradans shouldn't have to fear the threat of robbery or gun violence,” said Gov. Polis at the April signing.
Minutes after those four bills were signed into law, the nonprofit gun rights advocacy group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said they were already challenging two of them in court. They’re going after two bills pertaining to buying guns because they say those two are unconstitutional and are considering filing additional lawsuits against the other two laws signed.
In Colorado, the suspect accused of killing five people at Club Q in Colorado Springs in November and the suspect who shot and injured two administrators at a Denver high school both possessed ghost guns before the killings, according to authorities. In March, a man who was shot and killed by Englewood police officers was in possession of a ghost gun.