Boulder is getting a tough new gun law. Following hours of public hearings and discussion, KGNU’s Roz Brown says City Council has approved a ban on certain weapons that will need a third reading before it’s official. The nine-members of city council voted unanimously to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines within the city limits. The ordinance was proposed by Jill Adler Grano following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February that left 17 dead. Grano hopes Boulder’s new law is more than symbolic.
“I don’t think this is purely symbolic, there’s a lot of good it will do in our community,” said Grano. “I wish we could do this on national level, but this is our jurisdiction and this is what we can do.”
After the ordinance was passed on first reading, gun rights activists rallied in downtown Boulder two weeks later – many of them carrying versions of weapons that will soon be illegal. Andrew O’Connor was at the rally and told council members that it was more evidence as to why stricter laws are necessary.
“What I saw were cowards misappropriating patriotism by waving the American and “don’t tread on me” flags,” said O’Connor. “I saw cowards brandishing AR-15s in violation of the law and I urge you to pass this.”
Allison Boggs said she was a principal for 20 years. “I pictured myself doing what the principal of Sandy Hook did and facing down that deranged young man with an assault weapon. She gave her life protecting that school. I always hoped I’d have the courage to do that, and you have the chance to have courage.”
Mayor Suzanne Jones said Boulder’s action won’t solve the entire problem of access to guns, but it’s an attempt to make progress.
“Like we can’t solve climate change from Boulder, we can’t solve the issue of public safety around guns here either but we can take steps and we are compelled to do that,” said Jones.
As written, the law says assault-style weapons as specifically defined could not be sold or possessed in Boulder. It also says citizens who own bump stocks will have to get rid of them within 30 days of adoption of the law. They’d have until the end of December to get rid of magazines with the capacity to hold 10 or more rounds.
Council member Sam Weaver admitted that addressing assault weapons is only a small subset of weapons, but a particularly deadly subset.
“During the Clinton era there was a decline in deaths from assault weapons during a ban from 1994 to 2004,” said Weaver. “The number of people killed were less than the decade before and the decade after. So, I agree it’s not perfect but it does have an effect.”
Even prior to the vote the Boulder City attorney and council members had concluded that the city will likely be sued over the new law. To make that point, several gun owners and opponents of Boulder’s proposed law were in the audience and waved signs that said, “We Will Not Comply.”
That did not sway council member Cindy Carlisle, who said it was time to stand with the students of the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“When those students were offered thoughts and prayers, they said they’d had enough of that BS and needed more and this is our chance to step forward,” said Carlisle.