BOULDER — Following in the footsteps of many of the municipalities within its border, Boulder County Commissioners on Tuesday, July 5 will take up first reading of a package of new restrictions on gun rights including:
- Prohibiting the purchase of any firearm by those under 21 years of age.
- Requiring a 10-day waiting period prior to the sale of a firearm.
- Prohibiting the carrying of firearms in “sensitive” public places.
- Prohibiting the sale and purchase of many commonly owned semi-automatic rifles (what the county calls “assault weapons”) as well as large capacity magazines and trigger activators.
- Regulating the possession of “unfinished frames and receivers,” and “unserialized firearms.”
No public comment will be taken on the ordinances during the regular business meeting, which begins at 10:30 a.m. The commissioners are still not meeting in public, so residents may view the meeting virtually only, and must first subscribe here.
A public hearing on the ordinances, where comment will be taken, is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Aug. 2. A registration link will be available by mid-July, the commissioner’s website says. Residents may also send comments via email using a comment form found here.
Most of the ordinances are similar to those already passed by the cities of Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette, and Superior.
However, Boulder County is going a step further by including bans of both open and concealed carrying of firearms in such places as:
- 500 feet of a polling location.
- Any place licensed to serve alcohol.
- Healthcare facilities.
- Churches, stadiums, courthouses, banks, theaters, daycare centers, or grocery stores.
- County-owned or managed buildings, recreation and community centers, parks, and open space.
Anyone openly carrying a firearm will be asked to leave the premises immediately. If they do not, they could face additional criminal penalties including trespass. Anyone violating the order by concealing a firearm will face a civil fine of $50 for the first offense and $100 fine for each conviction after.
Anyone knowingly violating the order is subject to a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to a year in jail.
Boulder County’s ordinances would be the most severe to date of all communities.
At least a dozen local governments — including Boulder County — and possibly one college along the Front Range were part of an earlier discussion led by Boulder City Council Administrator Taylor Reimann to adopt new municipal-level gun restrictions in the coming weeks and months.
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.
The new rules are a result of Senate Bill 21- 256, which was passed during last year’s legislative session and signed into law by Governor Polis. SB 256 unwound decades of state preemption and allows local governments to manage their own gun laws, but only so long as they are more restrictive than those at the state level, a condition that has been referred to as a “bastardization of the concept of local control.”
Nearly all of the supporters of such ordinances have been women affiliated with Mom’s Demand Action, a subset of the Every Town for Gun Safety, a radical gun control 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.
How the ordinances would be implemented is not clear in the county’s announcement. However, Weld County Commission Chairman Scott James said as he understands it, counties may not pass resolutions that pertain to any municipality within its boundaries. Therefore, the new ordinances would only apply in unincorporated Boulder County.
Nonetheless, James said, it will be confusing to residents who live near county borders, such as the case for those who live in unincorporated areas around Erie and Longmont, which both share borders with Weld and Boulder County.
“If a Boulder County resident carrying crosses into Weld County, where we still respect the Second Amendment, we see them as a law-abiding citizen,” James said. “If a Weld County resident goes into Boulder County, I can’t say the same. It will be a confusion for the citizen, but not for the jurisdiction.”
Complete Colorado has been leading the way in reporting on local gun rights restrictions being enacted since passed of Senate Bill 256. All the stories can be found here, and Complete Colorado will continue to follow the process in Boulder County and other towns if necessary.
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