Kudos to the website Complete Colorado and one intrepid citizen in the Denver suburb of Edgewater for doing a deep dive into the efforts to put a host of new local gun control ordinances in place; an effort, by the way, that has been scaled back after Second Amendment supporters turned out in force at a recent city council meeting in order to object to the proposed restrictions.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re taking a closer look at the coordinated campaign to approve the new laws, which was spearheaded by Edgewood City Council member and Moms Demand Action activist Hannah Gay Keao. In the build up to the first city council meeting on the proposed ordinances, Keao was busy not only trying to get gun control activists to show up, but was even coaching them on what to say.
On April 5, the Edgewater City Council heard a presentation on gun violence prevention from Colorado Ceasefire, an anti-gun rights organization, and subsequently decided to move forward with a more detailed discussion on possible municipal ordinances. Such local gun rights restrictions would be allowed under Senate Bill 21- 256, passed during last year’s legislative session and signed into law by Governor Polis. SB 256 unwound decades of state preemption and allows local governments to manage their own gun laws, but only so long as they are more restrictive than those at the state level, a condition that has been referred to as a “bastardization of the concept of local control.”
Keao’s emails with Ceasefire Colorado, Mom’s Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety and others, appear to show that Keao hoped to convince fellow council members to enact a laundry list of new restrictions that included open and conceal carry bans both on city and private properties, gun and ammunition bans, and new regulations for Edgewater’s one gun dealer.
One email from Keao sent just days before the city council’s April 19th meeting shows the type of coaching involved.
On April 15, Keao puts out more requests for Moms Demand Action volunteers and others to speak at the April 19 meeting. “Hi there – just following up if you think you or anyone else from Moms may be able to speak on April 19! Here’s what’s been sent out to Council and posted for the public – the presentation from Ceasefire last meeting and a summary of potential ordinance contents. If attendance isn’t in the cards outreach via email could still help. … You know the issue, I think the clutch things to share why this legislation in Edgewater is important to kids and families outside of our city too – that you visit here, or that you hope your community and the state follow suit, etc. Saying you’re both a Coloradoan and a Moms Leader is fabulous; there’s clearly a reason you’re dedicated to the issue and you that [sic] stories go a long way.”
The fact that Keao was trying to get non-Edgewater residents to turn out and speak in favor of her proposed gun control ordinances is important, because as Complete Colorado and Edgewater resident Larry Welshon were able to show through Freedom of Information Act requests is that the councilwoman is just part of a broader effort to “reimagine” gun laws across the Denver area.
On April 14, Keao is part of a group email originated by Taylor Reimann, the administrator for the Boulder City Council. She outlines the plans for working with area municipalities on enacting gun control measures that are similar. She includes model ordinances for the communities to consider adopting that were written by Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Everytown for Gun Safety. She also asks for guidance on the draft of a press release announcing the joint effort among the towns and cities. It reads in part: “[Name of organization] is one of [Number] cities along the Front Range considering meaningful gun violence prevention measures, with a goal of passing parallel municipal ordinances at roughly the same time this summer.”
There’s something ironic about the state legislature repealing the firearms preemption law that established a uniform body of gun laws across the state, only to have gun control activists try to impose a uniform set of gun control laws in the most populated part of Colorado, but the truth is that repealing firearms preemption has always been just the first step in a longer process of criminalizing the right to keep and bear arms. And this campaign isn’t limited only to Colorado. There are efforts to repeal firearms preemption laws in several states, as well as litigation designed to overturn preemption laws in states with a Republican majority in the state legislature, and once those preemption laws are off the table the gun control lobby will do its best to impose a new, more restrictive standard whenever and wherever possible.
Why does this matter? Well, for one thing it shows that Second Amendment supporters have to think local too. It’s not enough to contact our congresscritters and state representatives to encourage them to support strong pro-2A bills and to reject any demands for new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. We need to show up at our local city council, county commissioner, and even school board meetings if we want to effectively and successfully push back against the gun prohibitionists’ agenda; something that we’ve already seen play out in Edgewater.
By the way, the city council there is still planning on bringing a scaled-down version of their anti-gun package to a full vote in the coming weeks, but after the release of this treasure trove of emails opponents have even more reason to show up and let their own voices be heard. They’ve done it once already, and I expect that when the city council in Edgewater is ready to hold a vote, they’re going to once again have a packed house of residents standing opposed to their attempts to infringe on their right to keep and bear arms.