Gun-Safety Law Could “Address” Six Lives in Colo, But Measure Won’t Save Them, Says Brauchler

(“Six lives matter, but…” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler (R).

UPDATE: “I am in no way saying that I don’t think those lives are worth saving, whether it’s one or six, I just don’t think those lives get saved any more with that proposed law than our existing child abuse law,” Brauchler told the Colorado Times Recorder. “I haven’t seen the draft, so we are speculating, but there is a provision in the law that says if you have a broader law out there and then the Legislature passes a much more specific law that addresses that behavior, the defendant can only be prosecuted for the more specific behavior covered by it. So if they make a misdemeanor defense for not securing your firearms, it’s possible, depending on how they draft it, that you may actually take away from me the ability to prosecute the much more serious felony, if it applied. You and I wouldn’t want that. We came up with statement law that actually makes it less costly to someone to leave their gun on the table.”


In the “best-case scenario,” a gun-safety bill under consideration at the state Legislature could “address” six homicides per year in Colorado, and “every one of those lives matters,” says Arapahoe County area District Attorney George Brauchler.

“And that’s not a small number,” he adds.

But Brauchler opposes a law, which would mandate safe-storage of guns to keep them out of the hands of children, because enforcement is “extremely, extremely tricky” and there’s already a “child abuse statute” that allows for prosecution of parents whose kids get a hold of guns, Brauchler said during an interview with KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky last Friday morning.

BRAUCHLER: “It looks like, if you look at what coroners have reported and some other stuff, that the safe storage bill, if it was 100% effective, it could address up to six homicides or injuries — I think it was homicides –a year, across the state of Colorado. And that’s not a small number. I mean, every one of those lives matters.


“But that’s the best-case scenario for that particular law. But I agree with you, enforcement is extremely, extremely tricky. I think they both sound very common sense-y, and that’s why I think they are going to end up passing. People are going to go, ‘Well, of course, you shouldn’t leave guns lying around. The issue is, we already have laws that allow us to prosecute adults under a child abuse statute that says if you put a kid in a position to hurt themselves or others, we can already prosecute you for that. We don’t need a safe-storage bill for that.”

Brauchler described the bill as “targeting kids getting guns and hurting themselves or others,” which he said on air was a “noble cause.”

“But it’s a bill that criminalizes people who don’t take steps to prevent kids from getting their hands on guns in those circumstances,” said Brauchler.

Tom Mauser, whose son died in the Columbine school shooting, says passing a safe-gun-storage bill “sends a message that gun owners need to take this seriously.” The existence and passage of the law is part of a public education process that continues when the law is used to prosecute violators, he says.

“Enforcement can be difficult for any number of laws, but we pass them anyway,” said Mauser. “We can agree that gun owners should store their guns responsibly, but we haven’t put this into law. We need to make it clear that you will be prosecuted if you are irresponsible with your guns.”

Mauser added that having specific statute in place can also help prosecutors convince juries and provide justice for victims of gun accidents. So “enforcement occurs when these laws are broken, sadly when there is a tragedy,” he said.

“If you’re the neighbor, and your kid was shot, you’re saying, ‘My God, why didn’t my neighbor take precautions.’ We want to make it clear,” Mauser said.

Brauchler did not return a call asking why he would oppose a bill that might possibly save six lives, if he thinks the law could serve to educate the public about the seriousness of the issue, and whether he thinks the existence of the law would be of no use whatsoever to prosecutors.

State House Democrats are working on a safe-storage bill, according to Jarrett Freedman, a spokesman for the House majority.

During the radio interview Friday, Kaminsky offered his opinion on the proposed safe-storage law legislation and another bill requiring gun owners to report lost guns to police:

KAMINSKY: “My gut instinct on both of them is that 90% of the time they will be unenforceable, and no one will really know,” Kaminsky told Brauchler. “And I don’t really like that kind of law, because the enforcement feels quite unfair. And I also don’t think they are going to make a difference. But I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it.”

“I think you are right on both of those,” replied Brauchler.

Listen to Ross Kaminsky’s interview with George Brauchler below:

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    Perhaps, if Mr. Brauchler does call at some point, he could be asked if "a “child abuse statute” that allows for prosecution of parents whose kids get a hold of guns," is ever actually enforced. 

    I've lived in Colorado for quite awhile, and read newspapers and other media coverage on most days.  I cannot recall ANY adult being prosecuted for allowing kids to handle guns that results in injury or death.   Anyone?  Can you think of an occasion when a kid living at home got a gun and used it, and harm resulted, that the adult owner of the gun was prosecuted for child abuse?

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    How many times a year does a DA in Colorado seek pander a death-penalty conviction? . . . 

    “. . . because enforcement is ‘extremely, extremely tricky’ and there’s already [other penalty statues that can be used by the prosecution], Brauchler will never be heard saying during any morning radio interview.”

    . . . Is there an App they have to use to count that?

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    Guy lost to Phil Weiser.  Coloradoans were the wiser voters to turn their backs on this Republican hack.

  4. MADCO says:

    wait- prolife and pro death penalty and pro 2d Amendment I can almost understand.

    But pro-life is … pro life.
    If there is a public safety policy that can save six lives – and for which the public imposition is low, enforcement is too hard?
    I'm glad I voted for the other guy.

  5. Gilpin Guy says:

    Apparently not all lives are precious.  Thanks for clarifying that George.

  6. COgator95 says:

    JFC, Democrats are really pushing to pass stupid laws that are unenforceable and would only be used after little Sally or Tommy has blown their brains out in order to add additional charge(s) to the gun owner (most likely either mom or dad of now dead Sally/Tommy). So, that's just a bit too late to "save lives", huh?

    Instead of pandering to the extreme anti-gun left of our party one would think that the legislators would deal with fixing our horrible roads, disgusting traffic congestion, the hot mess that is RTD, protecting our public lands, or hear is a thought pass more strict background checks for gun owners. You know pass legislation that is actually useful and improves the lives of their constituents.

    Just an FYI, I'm a Democrat and gun owner.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      I suppose we could also label seat belt laws as unenforceable too gator but it is statistically proven that seat belts save lives (a lot).  So is it better to have seat belt and gun locker laws or just wing it and hope and pray that you’re not the first one to a crash scene where the occupants chose freedom to not comply with an unenforceable law.

    • kwtree says:

      700 mostly black and Latino kids killed or wounded by guns in Denver alone every year, according to the Department of Public Health. 

      Black children are 500 times more likely to die by gun nationwide, but Latino kids are most likely to be murdered by a firearm in Denver neighborhoods, per study referenced above.

      Too much? Gator apparently thinks these are acceptable losses. Not enough to bother tightening up the law.

      Could strict liability laws help? Yes…you buy a gun, you are liable for whatever that gun does. Including killing or wounding children, by accident or intent. So if you must buy guns for “defense” or bragging rights, keep those suckers securely locked.

      In addition, the problem must be approached holistically, as well as with safe storage laws.

      Public health experts say there are two ways to address this problem. One is to evaluate the specific causes of gun violence, apply evidence-based approaches and then evaluate incremental changes in the causes.

      Another is to reduce shared risk factors that lead to many different types of adverse health outcomes, including injury and violence. This approach acknowledges that housing, the economy, educational opportunity, community development and design, justice and immigration all shape the circumstances in which people live. Addressing and improving these factors and the neighborhoods young people live in reduces their chances of being harmed by violence. 

      Research shows that collaborative, cross-sector approaches can reduce violence. Louisville, Kentucky and Oakland, California have successfully coordinated efforts between city agencies to address youth gun violence. Both cities have seen a drop in gun-related crime, injuries and deaths. Read: How Gun Violence Affects Youth in Denver. 

      • JohnInDenver says:

        The source you cite says specifically "700 young people are killed or injured by guns, or are victims of gun-related crimes each year."  The killed and wounded are spelled out:

        In just six years (2012-2017), Denver youth experienced: … 27 suicides using a gun [&] 47 homicides due to guns … Over a seven year period (2012-2018), Denver youth experienced 311 emergency department visits [&] 175 hospitalizations for gun-related injuries.

        The original report says something about youth being up to 24 years old, too. :

        If my math skills are functional this morning, that would work out to 12 deaths and about 47 injuries per year — which would leave something like 640 "victims of gun-related crimes." 

        Chasing back into your source, and their sources, to find what is recommended for safe storage, one of the studies {"Effectiveness of Interventions to Promote Safe Firearm Storage" says:

        Most states have enacted some legislation mandating safer firearm storage in households with children (70); however, our knowledge on whether such laws and regulations truly influence storage practices is limited….

        Although additional studies are needed, the totality of evidence suggests that counseling augmented by device provision can effectively encourage individuals to store their firearms safely.

        So, mandating safe storage may help … but it is difficult to say how much.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Maybe they could amend the bill to your liking so that people being convicted of being too stupid to care to think to keep their kids safe at home, will be sentenced to working on road repair crews keeping you and me safe???

      Brauchler would probably even support the return of chain-gangs … for people of the correct hues?

      BTW, I’m not a Democrat and I’m a gun owner …

  7. Genghis says:

    “But it’s a bill that criminalizes people who don’t take steps to prevent kids from getting their hands on guns in those circumstances,” said Brauchler.

    Well, it actually criminalizes failure to store firearms securely, not "people," but hey, that's somewhat less stupid than the nonsense that usually falls from ol' George's dissembling maw.

    This law is a decent start, but we could also use absolute civil liability (liability without fault + no affirmative defenses) for firearm owners. One kid accidentally shoots another kid with your pistol? You're liable for all the injured kid's economic and noneconomic damages, with no cap on recovery. You took all possible care in storing the pistol, and the kid acquired possession through a freakish and unforeseeable chain of events? Tough titty. You're liable. Someone steals your shotgun, fences it, and someone else uses it to commit a murder? You're liable for the full panoply of wrongful death damages (again, no recovery caps). The theft and the criminal act of the shooter were superseding causes, you say? The shooter fired in self-defense? Too bad, so sad. No affirmative defenses.

    Getting back to Brauchler, George, please just shut up. And while you shut up, nut up. Stop taking taxpayer money and make your way in the private sector. With your many skills, fortune surely awaits you in the fast food, gas station, and/or janitorial industries.

  8. MADCO says:

    It has helped in other places. But it could never, ever help in Colorado.

    There is no storage inspection (though if I was running an insurance company I might wish there was something more than the question on the policy application).

    It's a question for after something happens.
    And a way to encourage individual responsibility  – Reaganesque trust but and verify 

  9. Diogenesdemar says:

    People don’t think.  

    Especially voluntarily.

    As a law, the “enforceability” canard is true enough.  Same for “prevention”.  But, how many laws ever actually get enforced as advertised?  How many laws ever actually prevent in all instances?

    Getting people to think, even involuntarily, about the what they can do to be safe, and help keep others stay safe, is a good thing.  That won’t fit on a bumper sticker, and no pandering DA will ever run on that, however.

    Thinking is hard.  People need help, because often times it’s also a good.  Helping people think should be in the constitution somewhere.

    Oh, and wash your hands, often, and get a flu shot if you haven’t, and if you’re coughing and sneezing and don’t feel well, stay the fuck at home … Didn’t your parents learn you anything?

    … there oughta’ be a law.


  10. Diogenesdemar says:

    Aren’t there already enough burdens to being a responsible gun owner for you people??

    I mean, you gotta’ remember not to carry it in DIA …

    You gotta’ remember not to forget and leave it in the House chambers …

    You gotta’ remember not to get drunk and shoot up the neighborhood …

    You gotta’ remember not to shoot your eye out …

    When will enough ever be enough for you people?? Are you forgetting again that gun owners are the real victims here?

  11. spaceman65 says:

    11 months until POS Brauchler is out as DA.  A truly shitty human being.  

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.