DENVER — The Boulder City Council voted Tuesday to ban “assault weapons” in the aftermath of the Parkland mass shooting, despite vows from gun rights advocates to challenge the ordinance in court.
The council agreed unanimously to prohibit the sale and possession within city limits of certain semi-automatic firearms, as well as bump stocks and ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
“These restrictions are legal and meaningful while respecting the rights of gun owners,” council member Bob Yates said in an op-ed last week. “Not everyone will agree. But if we save just one life, it will be worth it.”
The ordinance, passed on third reading, included exemptions for military, law enforcement, competitive shooters and Federal Firearms License Holders, which did little to assuage the measure’s critics.
The Mountain States Legal Foundation and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners indicated before the vote that they would file lawsuits if the council approved the ban.
BREAKING: The City Council of Boulder is NOW motioning to pass the gun ban ordinance on an emergency vote. Tonight freedom begins its slow death in Boulder.— LP of Boulder County (@LPofBOCO) May 16, 2018
At issue is whether the ordinance is enforceable, given that Colorado state law prohibits local governments from barring firearms that may be purchased, sold or possessed legally under state or federal law.
The council also agreed to consider changes to the ordinance at a future meeting, but as approved Tuesday, owners of bump stocks and magazines with more than a 10-round capacity would have until July 15 to get rid of them.
Owners of semi-automatic firearms would have until Dec. 31 to remove, destroy or give the weapons to the Boulder Police Department unless they obtain a city permit showing that the guns were purchased prior to the ban.
#BoulderCouncil agrees to adopt Ordinance 8245 on consent, adding additional firearm regulations. At a later date, council will consider amendments to the ordinance on consent. Council is now discussing other Consent Agenda items.— City of Boulder (@bouldercolorado) May 16, 2018
Hundreds of gun owners and Second Amendment supporters, several of whom openly carried rifles, held a rally last month in Boulder to protest the proposed ordinance.
Even the liberal Daily Camera editorial board wasn’t sold, calling the measure “purely symbolic” on April 4 and challenging the assertion that the ban would reduce the chances of a mass shooting.
“To buy this argument, you must believe that someone with carnage on his mind decides to abandon his plan because he has to go to Longmont to pick up the weapon he’d like to use,” said the editorial. “As we said, anything’s possible, but from a practical point of view, we think this argument is among the weakest we’ve heard.”
A number of states and localities have passed or considered firearms restrictions in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.
In April, the village of Deerfield, Illinois, approved a similar “assault weapons” ban, which was met three days later with a lawsuit filed by gun-rights groups and a local resident, the Chicago Tribune reported.
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