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Gun Safety
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Gun Safety

Boulder DA’s Commitment to Reducing Gun Violence:

Gun violence has been on the rise in urban areas across the nation, and we are all too often confronted with news of another tragic mass shooting or gun-related injury or death. The Boulder District Attorney’s Office is working hard to make our community safer by providing increased resources to prosecute crimes involving gun violence, supporting legislation to prevent gun violence, partnering with other agencies to encourage safe gun storage, and engaging with community groups and advocates. We have hope that, together, we can reduce all forms of gun violence.

  • Legislation:
    • In 2021-2022, The Boulder DA’s Office worked with Representative Joe Neguse on five bills he introduced to support safe gun ownership, close the firearm sale loophole, and address other common-sense gun safety measures.

    • In March 2022, District Attorney Michael Dougherty testified in the Alaskan Legislature on safe gun storage.
  • Safe Gun Storage public service announcements
  • At the beginning of 2018, amidst a sharp increase in gun violence in urban areas across the nation, the Boulder District Attorney’s Office joined Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV), a non-partisan coalition of 46 prosecutors, in sending a letter with comprehensive recommendations to President Biden and Vice President Harris to reduce gun violence and suicides. The four-part blueprint, containing a broad range of common-sense gun safety and violence prevention measures, urges executive and congressional action to make the public safer. 
  • In 2019, the Boulder DA’s Office again joined with Prosecutors Against Gun Violence in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reconvene the Senate and work to prevent gun violence.

Gun Safety Resources:

Gun safety starts with responsible ownership. Thousands of firearms are stolen each year from homes and vehicles in Colorado and safe gun storage can help prevent these thefts and save lives. As of July 1, 2021, Colorado law requires gun owners to store their firearms in a gun safe or with a lock to prevent juveniles or other unauthorized users from accessing them. District Attorney Michael Dougherty stated, “We must take active steps to prevent violence, including crimes and suicides involving guns. By storing our guns safely and securely, we avert violent acts and accidental tragedies.”

  • Safe Storage Options: Firearms should be stored locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. Parents and other adults should assume that children and teens can find guns. There are many options for safe storage, including safes, gun locks, and out-of-home storage.
  • Gun Lock and Safety Kits
  • BE SMART: The Be SMART framework is designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries.
    • Secure all guns in your home and vehicles
    • Model responsible behavior around guns
    • Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes
    • Recognize the role of guns in suicide
    • Tell your peers to be SMART
    • Video about children and gun safety from BeSMART (Spanish)
  • Voluntary Out-of-Home Gun Storage (via the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition)
    • Temporary gun storage outside your home might be needed in any of the following situations:
      • A family member is experiencing mental health or substance use concerns
      • A family member or teenager in the home is in crisis and at risk for suicide
      • You are travelling and want to keep firearms secure while you’re away
      • Children will be visiting the home
      • You’re listing your home for sale and want firearms secure and out of sight.
    • Boulder County Safe Storage – For safe storage in Boulder County, the Louisville Police Department is willing to accept firearms for safekeeping in the event of a mental health crisis. Citizens can also reach out to their local law enforcement agencies in extraordinary situations as they may be able to provide assistance or referrals. 
  • Colorado Unlawful Storage Law: As of July 1, 2021, Colorado law requires gun owners to store their firearms in a gun safe or with a lock to prevent juveniles or other unauthorized users from accessing them. Unlawful Storage of a Firearm is a Cass 2 Misdemeanor offense. (CRS 18-12-114(2)(a))
    • Unlawful Storage of a Firearm – If a person stores a firearm in a manner where the person knows, or should know:
      • That a juvenile can gain access to the firearm without the permission of the juvenile’s parent or guardian; or
      • A resident of the premises is ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law.

Gun Safety & Suicide Prevention:

Putting time and distance between a suicidal person and a firearm can save a life.

  • If you have immediate safety concerns, call 911 for emergency assistance.
  • Firearm Safety: Gun Owners Can Help Prevent Suicide – Colorado Crisis Services tip sheet with possible suicide warning signs, safe storage options, and options during a crisis.
  • Firearms and Suicide Prevention – Information and resources from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention about the relationship between firearms and suicide, how to protect someone in distress, support for loss survivors, and education for retailers and range owners.
  • Prevent Firearm Suicide – Evidence-based interventions, educational materials, research, and resources from the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
  • Firearm Suicide Prevention Video – Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention
  • Resources for Youth, Parents, and Guardians
    • Safe2Tell: Anonymously report anything that threatens you, your friends, your family, or your community. Open 24/7, 365 to take reports.
    • Youth and young adult suicide preventionInformation on youth mental health and suicide prevention, school-based programs, and other resources from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
    • Facts and resources on Child Firearm Suicide from BeSMART
    • Teens2Teens – Breaking the silence on teen mental health.
    • It Only Takes a Moment Video from Larimer County about teen suicide and gun safety. It can happen without warning, and life is needlessly lost. Teen suicide is the leading cause of death of young people in Colorado, and teenagers often don’t show warning signs at home.

Crisis Resources

  • If you have immediate safety concerns, call 911 for emergency assistance.
  • Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order to temporarily remove access to guns for a person in crisis
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you believe that a loved one is a risk to their own safety; you may wish to encourage them to seek expert help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 (or dial 988 after July 16, 2022)
  • Colorado Crisis Services provides free, confidential, and immediate support with clinicians and peer specialists available 24/7/365 via phone, text, or in-person at walk-in centers. Colorado Crisis Services is the statewide behavioral health crisis response system offering Colorado residents mental health, substance use or emotional crisis help, information, and referrals.
    • Call 1-844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255.
    • Walk-in centers are available in Boulder at 3180 Airport Road (open M-F, 7am-midnight), and elsewhere around the Denver metro.
    • Spanish

Domestic Violence Resources

Guns in the home significantly increase the lethality risk for victims of domestic violence. Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner in the United States and access to a gun makes it five times more likely that an abusive partner will kill a female victim (Everytown).

Extreme Risk Protection Orders aka “Red Flag Orders”:


In a moment of crisis, access to a gun can be the difference between life and death. If you’re worried that a loved one is in crisis and at risk of hurting themselves or others, you can seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) to temporarily suspend their access to firearms until the crisis passes. An Extreme Risk Protection Order, sometimes known as a red flag order, will temporarily remove guns from the situation and help keep you and your loved one safe. (Info via
One Thing You Can Do)

  • If you have immediate safety concerns, call 911 for emergency assistance. The District Attorney’s Office does not play a role in requesting or issuing extreme risk protection orders but can provide assistance and answer questions for law enforcement.
  • What is an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO)? An Extreme Risk Protection Order is a court order that temporarily restricts a person’s access to guns when a person poses a risk to themselves or others. Extreme Risk Protection Orders are designed to help law enforcement and concerned family members intervene quickly in dangerous situations.
  • Who can request an Extreme Risk Protection Order? Under Colorado law, a law enforcement officer or a person’s family or household member may file a petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. A family or household member is defined as:
    • A person related by blood or marriage,
    • A person who has a child in common,
    • A dating partner, or
    • A person who shares a common dwelling.
  • How long does an Extreme Risk Protection Order last? There are two types of extreme risk protection orders that can be requested: An Emergency Extreme Risk Protection Order that can be enforced quickly and lasts up to two weeks, or a Final Extreme Risk Protection Order that requires a scheduled hearing and can last up to one year. You can request either type of ERPO depending on the situation and what you feel is necessary.
    • An Emergency ERPO is a temporary order that can last up to two weeks (14 days). Emergency Extreme Risk Protection Orders can be requested in situations when someone is in immediate danger of harming themselves or someone else. This temporary order only lasts until the court has a hearing on a Final Extreme Risk Protection Order. Concern for the safety of the person, or the public, may demand that action be taken before the scheduled hearing date, to prevent immediate danger. To protect a person or public safety during this time, a judge may issue an emergency extreme risk protection order that restricts a person’s access to firearms before the person has been notified of the petition, and before a full hearing is held. Because the emergency extreme risk protection order only stays in place for a short period of time it balances the urgent need for public safety with the due process rights of all involved.
    • A Final ERPO lasts for one year. At the end of one year, the person who petitioned for the order, another family or household member, or law enforcement officer may ask the court to renew it. The order can only be extended after a court hearing.
  • How do I request an Extreme Risk Protection Order? To seek an extreme risk protection order, a family or household member can fill out and file the application directly with the court. They can also contact a member of law enforcement to discuss their concerns. Law enforcement can then investigate these concerns and request the extreme risk protection order from the court.
  • What happens after an Extreme Risk Protection Order has been requested? Once the court receives a request (called a “petition”) for an extreme risk protection order, the court will notify the person and schedule a court hearing about whether the order should be issued. If, at the hearing, a court finds that a person poses a significant danger of injury to themselves or others with a firearm, the judge will issue a court order that requires the person’s firearms to be held by law enforcement or a licensed firearms dealer for as long as the order is in effect. Also, the person will not be able to purchase new firearms while the order is in effect.
  • Will an Extreme Risk Protection Order go on someone’s criminal record? No. An extreme risk protection order is a civil court order. Its sole purpose is to remove firearms from a person who is at high risk of causing harm to themselves or to others. The court’s decision to issue the order does not cause the person to have a criminal record.

Gun Statistics

Additional Resources

  1. Firearm Safety – Information from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office
  2. Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative – a project of the University of Colorado
  3. Firearm Safety for individuals with dementia – University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine
  4. Prosecutors Against Gun Violence
  5. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
  6. Colorado Office of Gun Violence Prevention

CONTACT US

District Attorney's Office

303-441-3700 (Main Office)
303-441-4703 (Main Office fax)
303-682-6800 (Longmont Office)
303-682-6711 (Longmont fax)
for Hearing Impaired
please use Relay Colorado
Email

Boulder

Justice Center
1777 Sixth Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Map & Directions

Longmont

Longmont Courthouse
1035 Kimbark Street
Longmont, CO 80501
Map & Directions

Mailing Address

Boulder District Attorney
P.O. Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306