City Council members in the Denver suburb of Broomfield are set to approve a number of local ordinances aimed squarely at legal gun owners and citizens trying to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms this week, more than a month after the measures were the subject of a hotly-debated hearing.
Under the proposed legislation, which is slated for a public hearing and a vote on Tuesday night, anyone buying a firearm in the city would have to show proof of training and sit through a ten-day waiting period before they could take possession of their gun. Adults under the age of 21, meanwhile, would be barred completely from purchasing (but not possessing) a firearm. The ordinances also subject concealed carry holders several new “sensitive places”, including all city-owned and operated property, ban open carry within the city limits, and impose several other additional restrictions on Broomfield residents.
At a late November hearing held shortly after the Colorado Springs shootings at the Q nightclub, both opponents and supporters of the ordinances turned out to make their case to the city council.
“Since the last study session held, there have been three mass shootings,” community member Leslie O’Brien said. “Education and implementation of these laws leads to safer communities.”
“I think the ordinances you have written do not have teeth to support substance. Each and every ordnance can be skirted,” community member Brian Peotter said. “The only effect you will have is you are going to move business out of this town to hurt small businesses.”
Many community members opposing these ordinances had issues with the proposal requiring a 10-day waiting period prior to the sale of firearms and proof of education and competence with firearms.
“If I have to wait 10 extra days when I just can go 0.8 miles to Cabela’s and buy it there, why am I going to be beholden to buy things in Broomfield?” community member Jim Morrell said. “You are hurting your tax revenue; you are hurting your businesses.”
“By allowing 10-day waiting periods, we allow cooler heads to prevail and suicidal thoughts to hopefully find comfort instead,” community member JoAnn Dolan said.
That’s one way of looking at it, though its important to note that a 2018 RAND report found “limited evidence that waiting periods may reduce total suicides“. And by mandating 10-day waiting periods, they also allow for hot heads who have violent intent to get the upper hand on potential victims, who may be unable to find the means to protect themselves from a stalker or abusive ex-partner. Or at least that would be the case if Broomfield residents weren’t going to be free to drive a mile down the road to purchase a gun in a community that doesn’t have a waiting period in place.
The gun control measures directed at firearm sales in Broomfield won’t stop a single criminal, but they will likely put an end to legal gun sales in the city. What gun store owner is going to want to continue to operate in a city where most of their customer base has been driven away to other nearby towns that haven’t imposed these draconian restrictions? These shops will either relocate or be forced to shut down as a direct result of the anti-gun ordinances, which I suspect is exactly what these city council members prefer… though ideally they’d like nothing more than for their neighbors to follow suit; or even better, for the Democrats in charge of state government to adopt their local ordinances as state statute.
The restrictions aimed at the right to carry are no less troubling, even if they might not have the same economic impact as the measures imposed on firearm retailers. The city council can probably get away with banning open carry as long as they don’t impose a similar ban on concealed carry, but raising the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and making virtually all city-owned-and-operated facilities “gun-free zones” aren’t likely to stand up in court. In fact, many of the surrounding Denver suburbs have already adopted their own local gun laws after the state legislature repealed statewide firearms preemption, and many of those “gun-free zones” and bans on the sale or possession of so-called assault weapons have already been challenged in court… and in at least two cases, have had enforcement blocked by judges.
Unlike nearby Boulder County, Broomfield’s gun control package doesn’t contain a ban on the sale of modern sporting rifles or “large capacity” magazines, but that doesn’t make them any less susceptible to a legal challenge, and if the council moves forward with their new ordinances as they’re currently written we’ll probably see multiple lawsuits filed by the end of this week. Given the anticipated harm to their business if these ordinances are allowed to be enforced, I expect several gun stores will be involved and seeking a restraining order blocking enforcement of the new ordinances, and it’s hard to argue that these folks won’t be irreparably harmed by the city council’s inane (and unconstitutional) edicts.
I have no doubt that these city council members want Broomfield to be as safe as it can be, but that doesn’t give them license to violate the rights of residents in their pursuit of public safety. Firearms training and education is a great thing, but if the elected officials in Broomfield believe that there’s a deficiency how about offering free basic pistol courses through the local police department? They could even apply for some of the millions of dollars in “gun violence prevention” grants at the state and federal to pay private instructors to run the course if it would be too much of a time commitment for the cops.
Of course they’ll never do anything like that because the end game isn’t to have more gun owners who are safe and responsible, but fewer gun owners in general; a stance that not only puts them on the wrong side of history, but the Constitution as well.