BROOMFIELD — The 11-member Broomfield City Council appears ready to join a growing number of cities, as well as Boulder County, in taking advantage of a new state law that allows local governments to enact ordinances restricting gun rights.
The local restrictions are possible after Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 256, passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature in 2021. The new law 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, meaning the law only allows for a one-way ratcheting up rather than true local control.
According to documents on the Broomfield website, potential restrictions mirror those already put in place in Boulder, Edgewater, Lafayette, Louisville and Superior. But unlike those other communities, Broomfield’s charter does not support civil violations, which is what the state law requires in most cases.
“Our municipal court, by code, is a criminal court and, although our court can (and oftentimes does) decide to sentence a person to a fine only, it is still a municipal criminal violation,” the work session document reads. “This is important in the firearm context because the state law that permits local governments to impose stricter laws on firearms prohibits the local government from imposing a criminal penalty unless the government can prove the person “had actual knowledge” of the local law.
Proving “actual knowledge” beyond a reasonable doubt is a high standard to meet considering the cities around Broomfield that have enacted similar laws are all different to some scale and knowing the boundaries from one city to another is complicated.
“To impose a criminal penalty on a person … the city must be able to prove that the person knew, or reasonable should have known,” the work documents state.
The possible ordinances being discussed at Tuesday’s work session include:
- Banning the sale and possession of so-called “assault weapons”, standard capacity magazines and rapid-fire trigger activators.
- Minimum age of 21 to possess a firearm.
- Regulate the possession of unserialized firearms.
- Require firearms dealers in Broomfield to post signs at all locations with firearm transfers.
- Require a 10-day waiting period on all purchases of firearms.
- Prohibit open carry of firearms in public places.
- Prohibit both open and concealed carry in specific public and “sensitive” places.
Since communities began passing the new ordinances, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has filed several lawsuits claiming Second Amendment infringements against Boulder, Superior, Louisville and Boulder County. The judges in the Superior and Boulder County cases have issued temporary restraining orders blocking enactment of some of the laws. Louisville and Boulder have agreed on their own to stay their enactment while the case is being litigated. They have all requested that their cases be considered as one case.
Broomfield will meet on the work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting can be watched live on YouTube here. According to the Broomfield website, to “participate in Council Meetings, Concept Review items during Study Sessions, and Special Meetings, public comment may be made via telephone starting at approximately 6 p.m. by calling 855-695-3744. To comment on applicable items, press star 3 (*3) to be placed in the queue.”
Complete Colorado will continue to follow this story.
Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.
CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.