2021 Leg Session, Broomfield, Civil Liberties, Local Gun Rights, Sherrie Peif

Broomfield council okays numerous gun-rights restrictions; resident concerns largely ignored

Editors note: This story has been changed from its original publication to reflect a comment from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

BROOMFIELD — The Broomfield City Council has approved seven new local gun rights restrictions on first reading, some of which may land them in court along with a group of other communities in the Denver Metro area.

The ordinances passed at a November 29 meeting were:

  • Banning the sale and possession of rapid-fire trigger activators (passed unanimously).
  • Establishing a minimum age of 21 years to purchase a firearm (passed 8-2 with Laurie Anderson and Deven Shaff voting no).
  • Regulating the possession of unserialized firearms, usually kit guns put together by hobbyists (passed unanimously).
  • Requiring all firearm dealers in Broomfield to post signs and provide an educational notification where a firearm sale/transfer occurs (passed unanimously, amended).
  • Requiring a 10-day waiting period to purchase a firearm AND require training in firearm use before the gun can be transferred in the sale (passed 9-1, amended with Anderson the lone no vote).
  • Prohibiting the open carry of firearms in public places located in Broomfield (passed unanimously).
  • Prohibiting the concealed carry of firearms in city and county owned and operated places (passed 8-2 amended, James Marsh-Holschen and Todd Cohen voted no).

Two other ordinances were passed that were housekeeping measures to make the new codes consistent with current ones.

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.

Comments overwhelmingly opposed

The ordinance requiring a 10-day waiting period prior to the sale of firearms and “proof of education/competence with firearms” resulted in the most conversation of the evening.  The education requirement for purchase would make Broomfield the first Colorado community to mandate a firearms course before a gun can be purchased — a requirement even more stringent than what is currently required to hold a concealed carry permit.

Public comments and public emails overwhelmingly opposed all the new ordinances, with nearly all the support limited to Mom’s Demand Action political activists.

Mom’s Demand Action is a national anti-gun group supported in part by New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg, well-known as a gun control extremist.

“The ordinances you’ve written do not have the teeth to enforce anything of substance,” said Brian, a Broomfield resident whose last name was not clear. “Each and every part of this ordinance can be circumvented by anyone who would like with a short drive to a nearby town. The only effect of these ordinances is you are going to move business out of this town.”

Leslie O’Brien, who claimed to be the local group leader for Mom’s Demand Action said tougher gun restrictions were necessary.

“Since the last study session was held, there have been three mass shootings,” O’Brien said, defining a mass shooting as four or more dead. The FBI also defines a mass shooting as four or more killed in a single incident. “The waiting period would have been extremely valuable to have in place in Virginia at the Walmart shooting.”

However, Broomfield resident Jim Morrell said since Broomfield sits in the middle of a metropolitan area and the municipalities around it are not on the same page, those unwilling to wait 10 extra days and go through extra training to buy a firearm can just go elsewhere.

“If only eight-tenths of a mile away I can go to Cabella’s, why am I beholden to Broomfield,” Morrell said. “You’re hurting your businesses. I’m all for training, but it shouldn’t be mandatory. Offer free training. Make it a city program.”

Efforts to amend

Most of the ordinances passed with little or no comment by board members. However, two of the ordinances, the 10-day waiting period/education requirements and the concealed carry ban were met with some opposition by a select few council members.

Anderson proposed a two-part amendment to the 10-day waiting requirement that would have changed the ordinance from requiring a 10-day waiting period and an education requirement to a 10-day waiting period or an education requirement, with the requirement also amended to allow concealed carry permits to satisfy the requirement.

That amendment failed 7-3 with Anderson, Stan Jezierski and Bruce Leslie voting in favor of the amendment.

Councilwoman Heidi Henkel said there was no way she would ever consider an “or” in place of the “and,” voting “absolutely not” on the amendment.

“I believe us as a council were very clear about it being an “and,” she said. “We said not only did we want the 10 days but — and — we wanted the education piece. A waiting period solves a different issue than the education piece of it.”

There was an on-the-spot attempt to separate the concealed carry amendment from the and/or amendment, but city staff because they said the city code would not permit it on first reading, but that it could be amended to allow the conceal carry piece on second reading.

The concealed-carry ban passed only after an amendment was made to require the city to put in security personnel and electronic screening devices in all buildings where concealed carry would be banned.

Most of the board members said they wanted to add the requirement to make staff feel safer. Additionally, the ordinance does not require concealed carry be banned in all buildings. The places where a ban will be put in place, with the added security personnel and electronic screening devices, will be up to the city manager.

The amendment passed 7-3 with councilmen Todd Cohen, James Marsh-Holschen and William Lindstedt voting against it because the cost was too high.

“The state has made it very difficult for public buildings to prevent concealed carry,” Cohen said. “Like the airport, you can’t have concealed carry, but they have security. That’s the exemption. Here we would have to have an electronic screening device in any building that we did this, and I think the costs would be extreme for the community. I’m opposed to this right now because it needs more work and more thought.”

On this ordinance Henkel — who didn’t think gun education (including a concealed-carry permit) was enough to avoid a 10-day waiting period — flipped, saying concealed carry owners were improperly being restricted.

“I don’t the support the overall ordinance without this,” Henkel said. “If we are going to ban concealed carry you really are hamstringing a lot of our well-educated people who own handguns and who can use them.”

The ordinance also passed 8-2 with Marsh-Holschen and Cohen voting against it.

The council did not consider banning the sale or possession of so-called “assault weapons,” banning the sale or possession of large capacity magazines and prohibiting concealed carry in non-Broomfield owned/operated public places.

Lawsuits threatened

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), a Loveland-based organization, has launched several lawsuits, claiming Second Amendment infringements for locally passed gun restrictions 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 ordinances while the case is being litigated, a signal that it is believed the ordinances will be struck down..

It appears one or more of the ordinances passed by Broomfield is on RMGO’s radar as well.

Michael Martin, an attorney claiming to represent RMGO who also lives in Broomfield, told the council during public comment that his client was prepared to file a lawsuit not just against the city and county but against individual members on the council as well.

“That will happen,” Martin said. “I am ethically, legally, and morally bound to vigorously represent my clients coming after Broomfield and your individual assets. I don’t want to do that. I live here. I care for you. But I care more about the Constitution. Why any council would proceed with four cities and counties in lawsuits already enjoined by Democratic federal judges as being unconstitutional is an issue beyond my comprehension.”

Martin did not clarify which of Broomfield’s ordinances would be challenged in court. RMGO executive director Taylor Rhodes contacted Complete Colorado after the initial publication of this story to say Martin was not representing RMGO. It is unclear who Martin is or why he purported to represent RMGO at the meeting.

Second reading on the ordinances will be January 10. The meeting is at 6 p.m., in the Council Chambers at the George DiCiero City and County Building One DesCombes Drive.

If passed, the ordinances will become effective 7 days after passing. Residents will have 30 days to dispose of any rapid-fire triggers they already own.


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