A Closer Look at Boulder’s Gun Control Measures

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A sign at the site of the King Soopers shooting in Boulder. Photo by Zack Butler

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Boulder, as part of a coordinated regional effort, is reviewing half a dozen new laws aimed at reducing gun violence. A final vote is scheduled for June 7; three hours have been set aside for a public audience.

Earlier this year, the city council first discussed the idea of ​​bringing back a 2018 ban on assault weapons, struck down by a court in March 2021, just days before the King Soopers shooting. A change in state law now allows local measures to exceed Colorado’s restrictions “in certain cases.”

“The The primary change enacted to comply with state law is the removal of language providing that lack of knowledge of the illegal characteristics of a firearm is not a defence,” staff explained in memos to the advice. Colorado law now states that local ordinances on the sale, purchase, or possession of firearms “can only impose a criminal penalty for a violation on a person who knew or reasonably ought to have known that the conduct of the person was prohibited”.

Boulder’s proposed orders were released Thursday evening. Very little change from board discussion in February. The assault weapons ban is here, along with a 10-day waiting period to buy firearms, a ban on open carry in public places, and restrictions on concealed carry in “sensitive places.” » such as city facilities, protests, churches, kindergartens, etc. (Find a full explanation of the proposed laws below)

Gone are a series of regulations for gun dealers, which city officials said earlier this year would be too difficult and costly to enforce. Gun shops (there are two in Boulder) will still be required to post warning signs about the dangers of guns.

A meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that access to a firearm doubles the risk of death from firearm homicide and triples the risk of death from firearm suicide,” wrote the staff. “A study published in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that access to a firearm during a domestic violence incident increases women’s risk of homicide by their intimate partner five-fold.

The notes to advice are filled with research like the one above. The orders themselves – spanning 46 pages – contain dozens of footnotes with evidence supporting the proposals.

Regarding signage:Studies have also found a strong correlation between point-of-sale health warnings and consumer perception and behavior,” the notes read, drawing comparisons to warning labels on tobacco products, calorie displays on menu items and even point-of-sale messages on sugary drinks. , which “significantly reduced consumption”.

On the waiting period for the purchase: “These laws have been shown to reduce gun suicides by up to 11%” and homicides by 17%. The footnotes also highlighted the prevalence of mandatory wait times, which are enacted in nine states and the District of Columbia, as well as the high American support for these policies. “A 2020 study found that… 85% of non-gun owners and 72% of gun owners support mandatory waiting times for gun purchases (and) a poll of 2017 found that 75% of Americans support a 30-day waiting period for gun purchases. ”

On raising the age limit for buying a gun from 18 to 21, which was part of the 2018 law:Individuals aged 18 to 20 commit firearm homicides at rates four times higher than those aged 21 and older. … Evidence shows that the rate of firearm suicide among young men increases by 26.9% between the ages of 20 and 21.

Regarding the original ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines, the staff cited the decade that a federal ban on assault weapons was in place, from 1994 to 2004. Congress authorized the expiration of the ban in 2004.

During the 10-year period the law was in effect, mass shooting deaths were 70% less likely to occur compared to when the ban was not in effect. The number of high-mortality mass shootings fell by 37% and the number of people who died in such shootings fell by 43%. »

Between 2015 and 2018, an average of 38,826 people died in the United States each year as a result of firearms, according to the CDC, and 76,127 people were injured non-fatally each year.

The orders also include a civil liability clause for any gun owner whose gun is used in a crime, and a severability clause in the event a court re-rules parts of the new laws unconstitutional.

Lawyers who challenged the previous ban have already promised legal action if needed.

“We will be watching this process closely as the City Council considers re-running orders that were previously overturned by a Colorado state court as well as new orders that, as currently written, would further disarm Coloradans. peaceful,” Cody Wisniewski, of the Mountain States Legal Foundation of the Center to Keep and Bear Arms, wrote via email in response to a request for comment.

“Everyone in Boulder has the right to be able to protect their lives and the lives of their loved ones, and these orders, as currently proposed, will prevent people from protecting themselves and their families,” Wisniewski wrote. “The firearms Boulder seeks to ban are legally owned by millions of Americans in 44 states, including Colorado.

“We remain committed to upholding the right of all Coloradans to own some of the nation’s most common self-defense tools.”

Boulder also had footnotes for this argument, setting the stage for the debate the council is likely to witness at the June 7 public hearing:

“Research published in Injury Prevention found that people living in households with guns misperceive their risk of firearm injury compared to people living in households without guns,” the staff wrote. “Gun owners and non-owners living with gun owners are 60% and 46% (respectively) less likely to worry about gun injuries than respondents without a gun at home, despite evidence that access to firearms in the home is a strong risk factor for firearm injury.

“A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that in King County, Washington, using data from 2011 to 2018, for every vigilante homicide there were 44 suicides, seven felony homicides, and one unintentional death.”

The ordinances will be presented to council on Tuesday, with a final vote scheduled for June 7. Registration to speak at the public hearing will open on Thursday, June 2.

What’s in Boulder’s Gun Control Ordinances?

1.) Repealing previous laws and reinstating the prohibition on the sale and possession of assault weapons, large capacity magazines (more than 10 rounds) and trigger activators. Raising the purchase age from 18 to 21.

A 2013 state law prohibits magazines that contain 15 or more cartridges; Boulder’s 10-round limit was therefore ruled unconstitutional. The Boulder Act of 2018 also banned bump stocks, which increase the frequency of fires. Bump stocks were banned by the federal government on March 26, 2019.

2.) Repeal and reinstate the ban on possession of firearms in sensitive areas, defined as “city facilities, polling stations and places where public demonstrations take place”. Firearms are also prohibited “without the express permission of the owner” in “places licensed to serve alcohol, hospitals, establishments providing mental health or addiction services, places of worship, sites sports facilities, courthouses, financial institutions, day care centers and preschools, and grocery stores.”

This does not apply to law enforcement, military personnel on official duty, private security guards or weapons left in cars.

3.) A ban on “ghost guns” — that is, weapons without a serial number. Federal law requires that all firearms manufactured since October 22, 1968, to include serial numbers. The advent of 3D printing has made it possible to print parts and assemble firearms without serial numbers.

On April 11 of this year, the Department of Justice “announced that it was adopting a regulatory amendment to require serial numbers on parts of firearm assembly kits and on 3D-printed firearms “.

4.) No open transportation in public areas. Firearms must be kept “unloaded and enclosed in a carrying case recognizable as a firearms carrying case by a reasonable person. It excludes firearms intended for target practice, carrying firearms in private conveyances, and carrying firearms on one’s own property, business, home, or other property with the permission of the owner.

Again, exemptions are made for law enforcement, military personnel, hunting, and target shooting.

5.) Require the following health disclosure to be posted in places where guns are sold:

“WARNING: Access to a firearm in the home greatly increases the risk of suicide, death in domestic violence-related disputes, and unintentional death of children, household members, or others. If you or a loved one are experiencing distress and/or depression, call 1-844-493-8255 Issued in accordance with Section 5-8-40, BRC 1981.”

As an alternative, the council could require people who purchase firearms to “sign an acknowledgment of receipt of the information contained in the proposed signage”.

6.) 10 day waiting period for the purchase of a firearm, after initiating a background check. This does not apply to private security personnel who obtain a firearm for employment purposes, or to customers who turn in a firearm for cleaning or repair.

— Shay’s Castle, @shayshinecastle

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Governance assault weapons Rock municipal Council boulder town concealed carry gun control Gun violence gun violence prevention wear open

Governance assault weapons Rock municipal Council boulder city concealed carry gun control Gun violence gun violence prevention wear open

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