By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – Attorney General Phil Weiser testified on Tuesday before state lawmakers in support of legislation that aims to protect domestic violence survivors. House Bill 21-1255 would expand and clarify procedures for relinquishment of firearms by someone who has a domestic violence-related protection order issued against them.

Phil Weiser attorney general

Phil Weiser (credit: CBS)

“By clarifying requirements already in place, this bill takes important steps to help ensure that the firearm relinquishment process is fair, straightforward, and can help save lives of domestic violence survivors in our state,” Weiser explained.

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Weiser chairs Colorado’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. In 2019, the board found that 70 people died in domestic violence incidents in the state. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths were from gunshot wounds. Based on the findings, the board recommended prohibiting domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms.

(credit: CBS)

“Limiting access to firearms for those subject to domestic violence-related protection orders is a commonsense health and safety measure,” Weiser added.

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Colorado law currently requires some domestic violence offenders to relinquish firearms and refrain from purchasing guns for the duration of a protection order. The proposed legislation would clarify the law to determine how and when guns must be relinquished. The bill also aims to simplify the process for courts to monitor compliance of the law.

House Bill 21-1255 also closes clarifies that the law applies to not only current and former spouses and cohabitants but also to current and former unmarried couples. This eliminates a so-called “boyfriend loophole” to include all intimate partners subject to domestic violence.

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The bill would prohibit people living in the same residence as the domestic violence offender from holding the relinquished firearms.

Audra Streetman