LONGMONT — The Longmont City Council will bring forward five gun-rights restricting ordinances after a work session on the topic was held June 14.
Mayor Joan Peck asked city staff to draft ordinances that would ban open carry in Longmont city limits, require a 10-day waiting period for possession of all new “weapon” purchases, increase the legal age to purchase any “weapon” to 21, prohibit so-called ghost guns (guns without serial numbers), and require signs on all municipal buildings banning guns on property.
Peck used the term “weapon” in her comments, but did not clarify what she meant by that word, so it is unknown if she was referring to firearms or anything else that may be considered a weapon, such as knives, clubs, etc.
Peck made clear in her request that she wanted the staff to put on a future meeting a discussion-only item that would allow council members to review the language created in the resolutions and determine if it was appropriate to move forward.
She also said she wanted to make sure that there was more community engagement on the topic, pointing out that the last time Longmont discussed restricting gun rights was in 2018.
“It’s been a long time since we did that, and things have changed,” Peck said.
Community engagement promised
Councilman Tim Waters added he hoped the community engagement was broader than just a forum or a single meeting.
“We fell short back in 2018 — on what was a pretty good start — to bring the community together on these issues. (It) just lost steam as we got into the action planning process because its hard work; it’s a heavy lift if there is going to be a culture change because at the end of the day, we’ll do what we need to do with ordinances, but what will make a real difference is a change in culture not just a change in ordinances.”
Peck agreed saying where they fell short in 2018 was not having an action item.
“There should be an action item with community on what do we do to go forward,” Peck said. “… it’s a huge community effort, it’s not just up to six people up here.”
After the decision to add the topics passed 5-0, with council woman Shiquita Yarbrough absent, the council took public comment from 40 people that lasted more than two hours. Those against the ordinances out numbered those in favor by nearly a two-to-one margin.
Nearly all of those in favor of the ordinances were women affiliated with Mom’s Demand Action, a subset of the Every Town for Gun Safety Group that has helped craft ordinance for all the communities in Boulder County that to date have passed some sort of new restrictions on gun sales and ownership.
Within the last month, Boulder, Superior, Louisville and Lafayette have passed new ordinances that include everything Longmont is looking at along with other prohibitions such as concealed carry bans and registering or turning in certain types of firearms.
Denver is the only non-Boulder County community that continues to pass gun restrictions. It 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.
No one forced to be armed
Christy Dillon, one of the Mom’s Demand Action speakers said her friends that are teachers are “shaken to their core; they do not want to be armed. Period.”
But to date, no one has ever proposed any legislation or suggested that teachers should be required to carry guns. However, many cities and states have allowed teachers who wish to lawfully carry concealed at school, do so.
14-year-old Lucas Menza told the council passing these regulations would be in violation of United States codes and the Constitution.
“Laws that have been set in stone in our country,” Menza said. “Removing that stone would be to change our country in a way that none of you have the power to change our country.”
Longmont resident Jeff Wilson said this about more than just the 2nd Amendment.
“The 14th Amendment – equal protection under the law,” Wilson said. “I live just inside the Longmont city limits. It discriminates against me relative to people who live a stone’s throw away. We’re creating different laws that contradict the Constitution. We need to keep that in check.”
And lifelong resident, business owner, father and United States Marines’ Officer Joshua Spencer suggested better options might be to look at school resource officers and finding ways to rotate their job duties, such as split their shifts so that they are more alert, change up their locations so that they don’t become complacent, give them preferential training.
In military affairs, he said, “Proportionality means the only proper response to stop a shooting once it starts is equal or greater force,” Spencer said. “Therefore, the proposed Every Town for Gun Safety/Gifford proposed ordinances offend me, especially registration of weapons. They offend me because they want to dictate my tools. They offend me because they make me a sitting duck; they make my wife a sitting duck; and they strip my civilian friends who can protect my children when I’m not there.
Complete Colorado has been leading the way in reporting on gun restrictions being passed in Colorado after majority Democrats passed Senate Bill 256 last year — 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. All the stories can be found here, and Complete Colorado will continue to follow the process in Longmont and other towns if necessary.
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