Denver, CO

Concealed carry ban imminent in Denver, Boulder prohibiting open carry guns in public places

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

Correction: The story originally reported that Boulder is banning concealed carry weapons. This is incorrect. Boulder is considering a comprehensive gun bill that bans open carry in public places, among other things.

(Denver, Colo.) Denver and Boulder are poised to toughen gun restrictions. On Monday, Denver approved the first reading of its concealed carry ban.

The City Council voted unanimously, but councilmembers Kevin Flynn and Candi CdeBaca expressed doubts they’ll give it final approval next week.

Denver's ban would apply only to city buildings and parks.

CdeBaca said she intends to propose an amendment next week to remove parks from the ban. She said that would be more in line with what other cities have done.

Flynn said staff has not provided any data showing the ban is necessary. “I remain very skeptical that this bill really does anything.”

Denver ban must survive another vote

A Denver City Council committee approved the concealed-carry ban last week. Boulder will take up its proposal at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Boulder's proposal prohibits guns in polling locations and places where public demonstrations occur. According to council documents, Boulder's ban also prohibits possession of guns without permission from the owner in businesses licensed to serve alcohol.

Further, Boulder will consider banning guns from facilities providing mental health or substance abuse services, places of worship, sporting venues, courthouses, financial institutions, daycare centers and preschools, and grocery stores, City Council documents show.

Denver still must approve the second reading of the ordinance next week for the ban to become law. CdeBaca and Flynn have been unlikely allies against the ban. Both have expressed concern the ban targets law-abiding residents.

Opposition to bill fierce

Over the past several weeks, dozens of people have spoken at Denver City Council meetings against the proposed ban. Few have spoken in support of it.

Tanya Nicholas said during public comment on May 2 the council should uphold the Constitutional rights of concealed-carry gun owners. Otherwise, "You inhibit a person's ability to defend themselves against anyone that would do them harm. Is not a person's life as valuable in the areas that you wish to include (in the ban)?"

Like several others who spoke against the ban, Nicholas emphasized that people obtain concealed-carry permits to protect themselves. "Criminals won't abide by rules, that is why they are criminals. They ignore the law."

Tim Bearden also spoke during public comment on May 2. He said it takes 15 minutes for Denver police to respond to priority calls. He said the concealed-carry ban "penalizes responsible adults who have done their due diligence to protect their families in a landscape where criminals don't respect laws."

Progressive council supports ban

A majority of Denver's progressive council supports the ban. Councilmember Chris Hinds said during a Facebook chat last week that growing up in rural Texas, he learned all about the Second Amendment. "It's here to stay until we can get the Constitution changed."

He believes most people who have spoken against the ban do not live in Denver. Hinds said gun background checks and registries should use technology for transparency and efficiency.

Denver also banned ghost guns this year

Earlier this year, Denver banned so-called "ghost guns." These illegal market, homemade firearms do not have serial numbers. Parts can be made with 3-D printers.

Denver moved to classify pistols as assault weapons in the same ordinance that banned ghost guns.

According to Denver police, guns fuel crime. But opponents of the concealed carry ban said those who have permits obey the law and don't cause problems. They viewed the ban as the government coming for their guns.

Comprehensive gun bill in Boulder

Boulder's comprehensive gun control bill, under consideration Tuesday, would:

· Ban the sale and possession of assault weapons, large-capacity magazines, and rapid-fire trigger activators. It raises the age to purchase firearms to 21.

· Ban "deadly weapons" in city buildings.

· Ban the sale of ghost guns.

· Require firearms dealers to post signs where gun sales take place.

· Prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public places.

· Require a waiting period before buying a gun.

Lived experience, data tell a story

Mass shootings repeatedly have rocked the Front Range. On March 22, 2021, a shooter armed with a semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 pistol killed 10 people at the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder.

Boulder's ordinance describes semi-automatic firearms as "designed with military features to allow rapid spray firing for the quick and efficient killing of humans."

After the Boulder shooting, the state legislature voted to allow cities to enact gun laws stricter than state statutes.

According to the proposed Boulder ordinance, guns are the leading cause of death for children ages one through 17 in Colorado. The ordinance says that guns kill nearly two-thirds of women murdered by intimate partners statewide, and Colorado has the 18th highest gun death rate among the 50 states.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

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