The Floodgates Open
A controversial city ordinance to ban “assault weapons, bump stocks and high capacity magazines” passed the Boulder City Council unanimously on first reading Thursday night after more than five hours of public testimony on both sides of the issue.As written, the ban would require anyone legally possessing anything under the ban to either register that gun with the Boulder Police Department (fee charged) or surrender it for destruction.The first reading passage is not a final decision. The Council could make changes on second or even a third reading before it becomes law.Councilwoman Jill Adler Grano, who asked for the ordinance, called the ban a “no brainer.”“I don’t see this as taking away Second Amendment rights,” Grano said. “The Second Amendment does not protect assault weapons. There have been hundreds and hundreds of mass shootings in America. This is a long overdue proposal. I think it’s time to say enough, not in the city of Boulder.”The interest in the ordinance drew hundreds of residents, most of whom watched the hearing on televisions in two additional rooms.For the most part, attendees were respectful of each other. The mayor at one point asked the audience to refrain from clapping.“It is uncomfortable for some,” she said.City attorney Tom Carr asked the audience to stop laughing at him as he tried to explain the nuances of various types of guns.Those in favor of the ban say something must be done to stop the bleeding. Those opposed say gun ownership is a Second Amendment right.[..]David Kopel, a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and Independence Institute Research Director told council members they should talk to the Attorney General before they take any action, saying there are profound problems with state preemption laws.“The city attorney’s point of view that any gun that doesn’t have a pistol grip but just has some kind of protrusion on the stock turns this into a very, very broad ban,” Kopel said, also encouraging them to ask about other features that make it illegal. “If two people own a gun and one is 5-foot-2 and the other is 6-foot-4 the stock can be adjusted so it’s a better fit for the user. It is hard to see how that does not violate the constitutional right to arms to say that a gun because it fits better becomes more unconstitutional, and I think the same can be said about many of the other features on the list.”Kopel, who is considered one of the foremost authorities on the Second Amendment, has written more than a dozen books on the subject. Still, Councilman Sam Weaver challenged Kopel because of his affiliation with the Independence Institute and the National Rifle Association.Kopel added magazines over 10 rounds constitute over half of all magazines sold in the last 20 years.“The criminalization of them with no grandfathering will turn a very large percentage of the population of Boulder into retroactive criminals, and people won’t register because they are afraid of confiscation,” he said.