Boulder gun ban 2.0 is on the way

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Actually, there’s more than a ban on so-called assault weapons in the legislative pipeline of the Boulder City Council. In just a few days council members will introduce a package of new restrictions aimed at legal gun owners, thanks to the Colorado legislature’s repeal of the state’s firearm preemption law last year.

Boulder this year decided to redo its 2018 ban on assault weapons, struck down by the courts last March, after Colorado lawmakers overturned the state ban on local gun control measures.

They went further, proposing a half-dozen new laws as well that would raise the age limit for purchase and possession of a firearm to 21; require gun stores to post a health warning about the dangers guns pose to their owners, children and others; adding a 10-day waiting period for purchase and banning concealed carry near parks, playgrounds, churches and other public spaces.

Council largely embraced the suite of laws, aimed at preventing gun violence, when they were discussed in February, recommending few changes. The revised language of the proposed ordinances has not yet been released.

According to Boulder Weekly, the proposed ordinances will be officially be unveiled next Tuesday, with a final vote expected to come in early June. Between now and then expect gun owners and Second Amendment supporters to turn out in force to object to the measures. Of course, that happened back in 2018 as well, but it didn’t stop the city from imposing its own ban on semi-automatic rifles.

As Boulder Weekly notes, that ban was overturned last year when a judge found it to be a violation of the state’s firearm preemption law. A week later, there was a mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in the city, and the state legislature’s response was to repeal the statute that blocked localities from imposing their own gun control laws more restrictive than what currently exists under state law.

In turn, that opened the door for anti-gun activists in Boulder and other cities to try to criminalize our Second Amendment rights in a coordinated campaign that is currently underway, though it’s meeting with stiff resistance from gun owners. In fact, the Denver suburb of Edgewater has watered down its original proposals, which mirrored the proposed ordinances that will soon be introduced in Boulder, after scores of gun owners turned out to object to the new gun control demands when they were first introduced.

Numerous Edgewater residents spoke out at the April 16 meeting against the proposed measures, with some saying they don’t expect the council to listen, nor do they believe the items taken off the list will remain off the list.

“I’ve watched our city council make laws restricting the freedom of the law abiding in line with progressive political philosophy for a long time,” said resident Larry Welshon. “In this case they are gutting the Second Amendment through incremental disassembly. I’d be delighted to be wrong, but past history proves this council is progressive.”

Welshon reminded the council that in a survey conducted by the city in 2021, only 47 percent of residents believe the council acts in their best interests.

But not all who spoke out against the ordinances could be considered conservative in their viewpoint.

“I am about as liberal as the day is long,” said resident Randy Novack, who said he was a neighbor to one of the council members whom he agrees with most times. “However, I’ve been shooting since I was a kid.”

There are plenty of reasons for gun owners to object to these gun control ordinances, starting with the fact that they’re all directly aimed at law-abiding gun owners. None of these proposed ordinances would prevent criminals from accessing or using guns in crime, and given that these are local misdemeanor ordinances, the punitive effects after a crime has been committed are negligible at best. Most likely any new local ordinance put in place is going to be fodder for plea bargains, allowing defendants to plead down to a lesser offense and avoiding jail or prison time altogether.

While the chances of Boulder’s city council rejecting these ordinances are slim to none, I do hope that there’s a massive turnout at the city council meeting from those opposed to turning bad ideas into terrible laws. It might not sway any votes, but it will at least be a very visible reminder of the fact that even in uber-liberal Boulder, there are plenty of people who think it’s simply wrong to attack a constitutionally protected right in the name of safety for all.