Two of Littleton's four firearm retailers will miss the deadline to comply with a first-in-the-state safe storage law intended to prevent burglaries, citing contractor delays and supply shortages, …
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Two of Littleton's four firearm retailers will miss the deadline to comply with a first-in-the-state safe storage law intended to prevent burglaries, citing contractor delays and supply shortages, though Littleton Police say they feel confident the retailers are on the path to compliance.
Littleton City Council passed an ordinance in February requiring gun dealers to lock up weapons in safes or hardened rooms after hours, citing frustration after years of gun store burglaries resulting in the collective theft of dozens of firearms.
MORE: Littleton enacts state's first 'safe storage' law for gun dealers, Feb. 8
The law, which took effect Aug. 1, requires all gun retailers within city limits to obtain a city-issued license showing approval of a “safe storage plan,” which mandates all firearms must be stored in a locked safe, gun cabinet or secured safe room after business hours.
The law also requires licensees to utilize a burglar alarm that sends reports directly to Littleton Police rather than a store owner or manager. The license must be renewed annually.
Littleton's two pawn shops, Broadway Jewelry & Pawn and Pawn Bank, have met the criteria of the new law, city attorney Reid Betzing told council in a July 27 city council study session, but Old Steel Historical Firearms and Triple J Armory have not.
“They haven't been able to complete the construction or infrastructure hardening in certain areas to comply with safe storage requirements,” Betzing told council.
Though the law went into effect Aug. 1, neither business will face penalties as they work toward compliance, Betzing said.
Neither Triple J Armory or Old Steel Historical Firearms responded to requests for comment from Colorado Community Media.
“After meeting with the businesses, we do feel like they're trying to comply in good faith,” Littleton Police Division Chief Gene Enley told council. “With the changes that they are making, it appears they are moving in direction we want them to move in.”
Both retailers have complied with a stipulation in the ordinance requiring burglar alarms to be programmed to notify Littleton Police immediately upon being triggered instead of being routed to a manager or owner, Enley said.
Littleton Police will conduct further check-ups in coming weeks, Betzing said, and if they come to believe the retailers are not acting in good faith, the retailers will eventually face citations and fines.
“Right now I'll defer to wisdom of police department,” Betzing said. “If they feel comfortable that these retailers are taking steps to come into compliance my recommendation is let's give them some time to do that.”
The law appears to be the first in the state to require firearms be secured after-hours, and one of very few in the country.
Betzing told Colorado Community Media in February that the law was spurred by community concerns after a 2020 burglary at Triple J Armory that resulted in the theft of 50 firearms, including two fully-automatic machine guns.
Of the 144 guns taken from Littleton gun stores since the beginning of 2016, 92 of them — nearly two-thirds of the total — were taken from Triple J over the course of three smash-and-grab burglaries.
The law prompted a backlash from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a gun rights advocacy group, which in Facebook posts called the law part of a “radical-leftist agenda” and urged members to call Littleton Mayor Jerry Valdes to reverse what it called “anti-gun, anti-small business policies.”
Valdes received more than 300 calls regarding the law last spring, he told council on July 27.
“And I took every one of them,” he said.
Valdes said Triple J told him they already planned to implement stronger security measures, but hadn't yet done so when the law was passed.
“We weren't putting additional requirements necessarily on that particular business, because they said they were going to do it anyway,” Valdes said. “If you're going to sell guns, you need to secure them properly. It didn't seem as though all the measures were being taken to secure property.”
Betzing said the city doesn't view the law as an infringement on the Second Amendment.
“We're not trying to limit an individual's right to possess firearms,” Betzing said. “What we're trying to do is make sure is that our firearms retailers are being safe and smart about how they're storing their wares.”
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