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Emails show coordinated push for local gun restrictions; over a dozen Front Range governments involved

DENVER — At least a dozen local governments and possibly one college along the Front Range are poised to adopt new gun rights restrictions in the coming weeks and months as part of a concerted effort on the part of Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords Center—both out of state gun control groups–along with the City of Boulder.

A Colorado Open Records Act request for emails belonging to Boulder City Council Administrator Taylor Reimann, produced an elaborate plan to enact similar restrictions on guns across Denver-metro communities on the south all the way to Larimer County on the north.

“The work follows the lifting of Colorado’s state pre-emption law last year, the first state in the country to overturn its prohibition on cities and counties from passing their own gun laws. Forty-two other states still have gun law pre-emptions statutes, although many are considering following Colorado’s lead this year,” reads a statement that the communities plan to release simultaneously on their social media channels announcing June implementations.

Included among the participants are Fort Collins, Lafayette, Louisville, Lyons, Superior, Broomfield, Edgewater, Boulder, Boulder County, University of Colorado, Denver, Westminster, Lakewood, Arvada, Wheatridge, and Larimer County.

The plan appears to be well underway with six of the 15 local governments either already passing such ordinances or in the final stages of doing so.

Although it is unclear if any communities have opted out entirely, a laundry list of regulations, including everything from banning open carry, conceal carry on government owned property and certain private businesses  to banning specific weapons and ammunition, purchase or transfer age and changes in dealer regulations is taking shape in Boulder County and surrounding communities.

All the participating governments on the initial list coordinated their efforts through one or two members of their respective elected councils, commissions or boards.

The City of Edgewater was the first on the list to take up the suggestions that, according to Reimann’s emails, were put together by Everytown and Giffords and pushed by local activist group Colorado Ceasefire and City Councilwoman Hanah Gay Keao.

After an initial list of nearly a dozen strict regulations 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, city council scaled all the way back to just one — open carry within city limits.

Tuesday, four Boulder-area communities will be voting on their own lists of restrictions.

Boulder and Louisville both have up for second reading:

  • Banning the sale and possession of “assault weapons,” large-capacity magazines and rapid-fire trigger activators, raising the minimum age to purchase firearms.
  • Prohibiting the carrying of firearms in certain public places.
  • Prohibiting the open carrying of firearms in public places.
  • Requiring all firearm dealers to post signs at all locations where firearms transfers take place.
  • Requiring a waiting period prior to the sale of firearms.
  • Regulating the possession of unserialized firearms.

Lafayette City Council has conflicting messages on its agenda, as a resolution encouraging the state to take up gun control to prevent confusion and a “bad actor (who) can simply go to a jurisdiction with less restrictive regulations to obtain firearms or ammunition they could not otherwise purchase in another community with more restrictive regulations,” leads off the discussion.

The resolution discusses gun-related injuries and deaths in both Colorado and nationally. It lays out statistics cited by anti-gun activist organizations for suicide, homicide, mental health effects, and the economic impacts allegedly connected to firearms.

“City Council finds and determines that gun violence is not only a social and economic problem in the United States, but is also a preventable public health tragedy,” the resolution reads. “While Senate Bill 21-256 acknowledges that local governments are uniquely equipped to determine what firearm regulations are appropriate in their local jurisdictions, the City Council finds that gun violence does not stop at city limits, nor is it confined to certain jurisdictions.”

The resolution says that although council supports local jurisdictions enacting and enforcing gun regulations as granted them through Senate Bill 21-256 — which unwound decades of state preemption by allowing local governments to manage their own gun laws so long as they are more restrictive than those at the state level — it creates a situation that is likely to result in chaos.

“City Council also finds that individual municipalities legislating to prevent gun violence is likely to create a patchwork of inconsistent local laws regulating, and that inconsistent local laws may cause confusion among the public,” the resolution reads. “The City Council finds that the Colorado General Assembly, by relying on individual local governments to address gun violence and prevention on a local level, has shirked its duty to provide for effective gun violence prevention laws that would be enforceable across the state.”

Despite acknowledging local governments enacting their own gun laws may create chaos across the state, Lafayette has up for first reading the following:

  • Regulating the possession of unserialized firearms.
  • Requiring all firearm dealers to post signs at all locations where firearms transfers take place.
  • Prohibiting the open carrying of firearms in public places.
  • Prohibiting the carrying of firearms on city property.

The Town of Superior may have some of the strictest language of all the municipalities. In addition to the all the other ordinances already listed, its ordinance also calls for:

  • No person shall possess a loaded firearm (with limited exceptions).
  • No person shall have a knife or firearm concealed on or about their body.
  • Anyone who owned a “assault weapon” or large capacity magazine prior to July 1, has until Dec 31 to obtain a certificate from the town after passing a background check.
  • Anyone who owned a “rapid-fire trigger activator” prior to July 1, has until August 1 to either remove the “rapid-fire trigger activator” or surrender it to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Those who obtain certificates for their assault weapons must follow further storage and handling regulations including reporting the loss or theft of the weapon withing 48 hours of discovery.
  • “Assault weapons” will no longer be allowed to be purchased, sold or transferred in town.
  • Anyone acquiring an “assault weapon” after July 1 will be required to either modify the weapon to make in inoperable, surrender to Boulder authorities, transfer to a weapons dealer or remove the weapon from the town.
  • Possession of a firearm will also be prohibited in any facility licensed to serve alcohol, a hospital, mental health facility, church, stadium, theater, childcare or preschool center.

The new resolutions among the Boulder County communities is in line with the June 7th “date of action” outlined by Reimann in her emails.

Among the other communities Reimann was in contact with, Denver has long banned open carry and recently banned concealed carry in public spaces including parks and city buildings, although it was not unanimous after three council members expressed concern with the ban in parks.

None of the other communities have anything on their agendas for the next couple of weeks. Complete Colorado will continue to follow the developing stories.


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