The city of Boulder, CO is often referred to by folks in Colorado as the People’s Republic of Boulder. It’s a liberal bastion in the state, one that is driving a lot of people absolutely insane with their anti-gun nonsense.
The latest example is their recent passage of an assault weapon ban.
Luckily, someone was ready for them.
The Mountain States Legal Foundation, a nonprofit public interest law firm based in Lakewood, Colorado, filed a legal challenge to Boulder’s new local regulations on firearms. The foundation named virtually the entire city government from the mayor and city manager to the city council and chief of police as defendants, arguing the ordinance violates not only the state and U.S. Constitution but also at least two Colorado statutes.
“This ban is tantamount to Boulder attempting to stop drunk driving by banning Subarus,” said Cody J. Wisniewski, an attorney with the firm. “It accomplishes nothing other than making criminals of law-abiding citizens.”
Boulder’s ban goes after virtually all semi-auto firearms in one form or another. Rifles capable of taking a detachable magazine holding 21 or more rounds, or a shotgun that can accommodate more than six shells, if they have a semi-auto action, are outlawed. A similar restriction applies to pistols or any gun that can be modified to meet the new definition. Bump stocks and detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds are likewise banned. Local residents have until July 15 to remove the newly regulated arms and devices from town or apply for a certificate from the city to grandfather them.
“The West wasn’t won with a registered gun,” said William Perry Pendley, the foundation’s president. “Colorado is not California; these laws have no place here.”
The plaintiffs in the litigation include Boulder icon Jon Caldara, a well-known libertarian activist and radio host; the Boulder Rifle Club; area gun shop Bison Tactical; and University of Colorado Shooting Team member Tyler Faye.
Unfortunately, I see this having an uphill battle.
For one thing, despite Colorado having a preemption law in place, Boulder is what is known as a “home rule” community. Basically, it appears to mean they can completely circumvent state law on things like gun control. The courts have upheld home rule before, so I’d be surprised if that changes now.
As for the constitutional arguments, while I agree with them, I’m not so sure the courts will. Further, even if they do, I expect Boulder will fight it all the way up the chain. If Caldara is willing to as well, then that means it stops at the Supreme Court, the same court that’s been somewhat notorious about not accepting Second Amendment cases here lately.
Should that be the case here, that’s going to be whatever the last court found, and I’m not hopeful these days.
Still, it’s important that we fight like Caldara is doing. This is something communities should have to reckon with when they try to interfere with our constitutionally protected rights. They should have to consider the costs of not just enforcing these laws, but also of defending them to the courts time and time again.
It’s a warning. It’s telling places like Boulder that they can pass whatever laws they want, but they can’t expect gun owners to just take it on the chin.