Democrats make ghost guns illegal in Colorado


SB23-279 Unserialized Firearms and Firearm Components is on its way to Governor Polis for signature after passing the State House on May 5, having passed the Senate on April 28. The bill won the support of every Democrat, except Sen. Kevin Priola, who was a Republican until last year. 

No Republicans in either the State House or State Senate voted yes for the bill that prohibits, “on and after January 1, 2024, knowingly selling, offering to sell, possessing, transferring, purchasing, or transporting an unfinished firearm frame or receiver, a firearm or frame or receiver of a firearm, unless it has been imprinted with a serial number as required by federal law.” The bill also prohibits the manufacture of a frame or receiver of a firearm by anyone who does not hold a federal license to do so.

The bill is supported by 18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner, who was the Republican nominee for Colorado Attorney General in November 2022. It is also supported by Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, both of whom are Republicans, though presently serving their cities in a non-partisan role.

Anyone in the state who has an unserialized firearm in his or her possession must have that firearm imprinted with a serial number by a federal firearms licensee by January 1, 2024 for it to be legal. 

A first offense under this new law is a class one misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense is a class five felony.

This is the fifth and final bill of the 2023 legislative session passed to address gun violence. Previous bills, signed by Governor Polis on April 28, require a three-day waiting period to purchase a gun, increase the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, expand the list of those who can request implementation of the red flag law, and allow gun violence victims wider access to sue gun sellers and manufacturers under certain circumstances.