CO town looks to defy SCOTUS with new gun regs

CO town looks to defy SCOTUS with new gun regs

While state legislators and Colorado’s governor are sending signals that even more gun control restrictions are on tap in the wake of the Q nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs, city council members in the northern Denver suburb of Broomfield are moving forward with their own spate of local ordinances aimed at gun owners and gun stores in the town. On Tuesday evening the city council heard from dozens of residents who packed into the council chambers to sound off on the proposals, many of which are going to run into legal trouble if they’re ultimately enacted into law.

Even those that might stand up to court scrutiny are unlikely to have any genuine public safety impact, however, given that they’re squarely aimed at legal gun owners and FFLs and not actual criminals.

On Monday Broomfield City Council introduced the following ordinances related to firearms:

  • Ban the sale and possession of rapid-fire trigger activators.
  • Increase the age to purchase a rifle or shotgun to 21.
  • Regulate the possession of “ghost guns” or non-serialized firearms.
  • Require a 10-day waiting period prior to the sale of firearms and proof of education or training before buying a gun. A training class must include topics such as mental health resources, state and local laws, and safe handling techniques.
  • Prohibit open carry of firearms in public places.
  • Prohibit conceal carry of firearms in buildings owned or leased by the City and County of Broomfield.
  • Firearm dealers must post signs and provide an educational notification when a sale occurs
The most problematic of the proposed ordinances, at least from a legal perspective, are those raising the age to purchase a long gun in the city from 18 to 21, requiring a 10-day waiting period and proof of training for all gun buyers, and the blanket ban on carrying in all buildings owned by the city or county. The city council did hold off on introducing ordinances to ban so-called assault weapons and “large capacity” magazines, probably because a federal judge in Colorado has already granted an injunction blocking similar bans from being enforced by nearby Boulder County and several of its political subdivisions, but as many residents complained, the measures still up for approval are either unconstitutional, completely ineffective, or both.

“I think the ordinances you have written do not have teeth to support substance. Each and every ordnance can be skirted,” community member Brian Peotter said. “The only effect you will have is you are going to move business out of this town to hurt small businesses.”

Many community members opposing these ordinances had issues with the proposal requiring a 10-day waiting period prior to the sale of firearms and proof of education and competence with firearms.

“If I have to wait 10 extra days when I just can go 0.8 miles to Cabela’s and buy it there, why am I going to be beholden to buy things in Broomfield?” community member Jim Morrell said. “You are hurting your tax revenue; you are hurting your businesses.”

The only real impact these proposed ordinances are likely to have are on the livelihoods of gun store owners in the city, who’ll no doubt be looking to relocate if the city council slaps a ten-day waiting period on all gun purchases. As Morrell pointed out, it won’t be difficult at all for most residents to simply ignore the new restrictions on gun sales by shopping outside the city limits, but the existing gun stores are going to be put out of business when their customer base flees to nearby communities that aren’t cracking down a civil right in the name of public safety.

I’m pretty sure the city council members in Broomfield are smart enough to understand this, but they appear to be so blinded by their anti-gun zealotry that it doesn’t matter to them. Losing tax revenue and spending God knows how much on a court fight destined for failure should be reason enough for even those council members who can’t stand our Second Amendment rights to tread lightly, but they’re moving forward with their local infringements, with a second hearing scheduled for early January; coincidentally (or not) the day after Colorado lawmakers are set to kick off their legislative session, with gun control expected to be a big issue for the Democratic majority.

Addressing gun violence was a top priority before the attack at Club Q, lawmakers say. But the massacre there — “unfortunately, another chapter in a long story of tragedies,” as Senate President Steve Fenberg put it — underscores the need for action.

Though the shooting has prompted lawmakers to discuss everything from an assault weapon ban to age restrictions on the purchase of firearms, they said policymakers cannot continue to wait for a mass shooting to react to gun violence here.

Everything should be on the table,” Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat, said. “We should prioritize what we think is going to save the most lives and have the most impact. That should be our north star.”

Since 2013 Colorado lawmakers have imposed a magazine ban, “red flag” law, and universal background checks while repealing the state’s firearm preemption law and allowing localities to establish their own, more restrictive ordinances. The result? Violent crime has only gotten worse.

In 2020, the violent crime rate in Colorado was 423.2 offenses per 100,000 residents. The last time the local violent crime rate was higher than that was in 1995, when Colorado’s violent crime rate was 440.2 offenses per 100,000. It should be noted that in 1995, violent crime rate on a national scale was much higher than in Colorado – 684.5 offenses per 100,000 residents. In 2020, when Colorado crime rates were as high as they’d been in 25 years, the national rate was significant lower than it was decades ago, below Colorado and at 398.5 offenses per 100,000 residents.

For the past decade Colorado Democrats have pursued their “ban-our-way-to-safety” agenda with disastrous consequences, and it looks like things are only going to get worse in the new year… unless and until the courts step in to stop the abuse of the right to keep and bear arms. Even then, I doubt that Democrats are going to start putting the focus on violent criminals, but at least Colorado residents would still be able to protect themselves in their increasingly dangerous communities.