Each year, there are plenty of laws that go into effect that many people have not heard about or taken into consideration. This year is no different.

In June, Senate Bill 23- 279 was signed by Colorado Governor Jared Polis which will put new restrictions on guns starting on January 1st, 2024.

The bill is aimed specifically at “ghost guns”, and looks to stop the rise in mass shootings and gun violence in the state.

What Are Ghost Guns and Why Are They Being Restricted in Colorado?

Drew Angerer // Getty Images
Drew Angerer // Getty Images

Simply put, a ghost gun is any firearm that has not been registered or serialized after it has been purchased or acquired.

In general, ghost guns are generally firearms that are not factory manufactured, since these guns are serialized upon creation.

Instead, ghost guns are typically created outside of traditional manufacturers, whether it be using parts from a kit or parts from other firearms. The concern is that creating your firearm is relatively cheap compared to buying one from a manufacturer.

Were Ghost Guns Even Legal to Begin With?

Spencer Platt // Getty Images
Spencer Platt // Getty Images

There are no federal regulations against the selling of ghost guns or kits in the United States. However, 11 states have adopted similar legislation to ban the use of these firearms.

Some have noted that part of the appeal of these firearms is that they are untraceable, meaning they can get past government inspectors. NPR reported that in 2021 alone, about 20,000 ghost guns were retrieved by law enforcement.

Another concern is that anyone can buy these kits, regardless if they can pass a background check. It has been reported that children are allowed to purchase these kits as well.

Why Did Jared Polis Sign The Ghost Gun Bill?

Chet Strange // Getty Images
Chet Strange // Getty Images

Back in June, Polis noted that the new bill was inspired by the mass shootings seen in 2022’s Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs and the shooting at East High School in Denver in 2023.

He noted that in both cases, the shooters used ghost guns in their violent acts. State representative and Fort Collins representative Andrew Boesenecker also noted that ghost guns,”... allow for dangerous individuals to possess a firearm and makes it harder for victims to seek accountability for gun crimes”.

How Will This Bill Restrict Ghost Guns in Colorado?

Chet Strange // Getty Images
Chet Strange // Getty Images

Well, if you own a firearm, frame, or receiver that is not serialized in Colorado, you have until January 1, 2024, to give it a serial number. However, after January 1st, you are still allowed to create your own firearm, you are just required to get it serialized beforehand.

However, the serialization process will also require a background check as well. If the person in question has gotten a misdemeanor with a firearm, frame, or receiver in the past five years, the weapon will be confiscated. The same goes if they have committed a felony with an unserialized firearm, frame, or receiver at any point.

If a person commits a crime involving an unserialized firearm, they will get a class 1 misdemeanor along with any other sentence. Any subsequent offense will then be considered a class 5 felony.

Moving forward, it will be prohibited to knowingly sell, offer, or purchase an unfinished firearm frame or receiver without a serial number. You also will not be able to manufacture a firearm without said manufacturer being federally licensed to do so.

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