Colorado county approves gun ban despite threat of legal challenge

 

It’s not only a gun ban. Boulder County, Colorado has also restricted where concealed carry holders can carry, imposed a ban on gun sales to adults under the age of 21, and a waiting period mandate as well as banning the sale and transfer of so-called assault weapons. Now one gun rights group in the state is vowing to sue, and others may soon follow suit.
In a three-hour session on Tuesday evening, Boulder County commissioners heard from supporters and opponents of the new gun control ordinances, including one representative from a statewide 2A group who pointed out that a similar gun ban put in place in Superior, Colorado has already been placed on hold by a federal judge.

“If you pass these ordinances, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners will add you to the list of places we are suing over this,” Kevin Lorusso with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said. “It has already been established that we will win.”

However, Commissioner Claire Levy noted that Superior prohibits the possession of assault weapons, while the county is instead prohibiting the sale, transfer and purchase of such firearms.

It’s an effort meant to reduce the saturation of a type of weapon that is “designed to cause as much damage and death as possible in the shortest amount of time,” Levy noted.

And either way, Commissioner Matt Jones said it’s for a judge to decide.

“I don’t subscribe to the theory of more guns make us safer,” he said.

I wonder if the commissioner subscribes to the theory that elected officials shouldn’t be actively trying to impede the exercise of a constitutionally-protected right?

Actually, it’s clear from the unanimous vote on the part of commissioners that none of them are too concerned about their new ordinances being declared unconstitutional. What’s more important is being able to tell gun control supporters they did “something”.

As the county’s nearly three-hour hearing came to a close, Commissioner Marta Loachamin pushed back on the idea that the ordinances approved Tuesday were in any way rushed or simply symbolic.

Personally, Loachamin said she has hoped to somehow impact gun violence since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. But locally, elected officials around the region have been meeting since the King Soopers shooting to discuss what can be done, she said.

“This has been over a year after passage of Colorado state law that allows local jurisdictions to respond to gun violence to create laws and regulations that will protect our residents and citizens and constituents,” Loachamin said.

Ultimately, the county commissioners said they felt they had to take action.

“We have to do our part,” Levy said.

I don’t think these ordinances were rushed (commissioners have been debating the changes for months) and I certainly don’t believe that they’re going to be symbolic. I have every expectation that the county will try to enforce these new restrictions as much as possible. I just don’t think they’re going to do anything at all to address violent crime in Boulder County even if they’re upheld by the courts, which frankly is a long shot as well.

Not only have we seen a ban on so-called assault weapons put on ice in Colorado in recent weeks, but at least one other gun control restriction similar to Boulder County’s has run into recent legal troubles as well with the Ninth Circuit ruling not long ago that a ban on sales of long guns to Californians under the age of 21 is unconstitutional. Boulder County’s expansive list of “sensitive places” is also likely to come under scrutiny, especially since many of the locations deemed sensitive, like public parks, have no real security measures in place that would indicate the county has taken steps to make them secure from criminal activity.

As for the ordinances themselves, are violent criminals really going to be persuaded not to commit an armed robbery or even a mass shooting because the county has made it a misdemeanor offense to carry a gun into a particular location? Are illicit gun sales going to stop because of Boulder County’s ban on sales to under-21s and its prohibition on selling or transferring modern sporting rifles? Of course not. The only folks who are going to feel the effects of these new restrictions are those who try to live within the boundary of the law, who will now be at a greater risk of being the victim of those violent actors certain to ignore Boulder County’s new bans.