BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Ten days before an assault-style weapon was allegedly used in a mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder, a city ordinance was lifted that prevented the purchase of this style of weapon within city limits.
The motive of the 21-year-old shooter is still unknown at this point, but what is known is that he was from another city outside Denver, his family believes he was showing signs of mental illness and that he had bought the Ruger 556 six days before the shooting.
The home of CU, when generalized, is known to carry liberal-leanings and had a ban on the purchase of all AR-15 style weapons until a Colorado preemption law that bars local officials from creating gun laws was used to get the ban lifted.
When the Boulder City Council was discussing the ordinance three years ago, “opponents who appeared to be from outside the area gathered to oppose the bill and the scene became increasingly tense,” according to Rachel Friend, a city council member.
Despite the presence of opposition, the proposal was passed. However, shortly thereafter, it was challenged in court with a suit headed by plaintiff Robert L. Chambers, a Boulder resident who admits to having been recruited and backed by the National Rifle Association.
Using the preemption law, the gun lobby-backed effort was successful and 10 days before the mass shooting, the ban on assault weapons was lifted.
Similar preemption laws exist in more than 40 other states and have being put into place since the 1980s. Preemption law supporters say their implementation allow states to be consistent with firearm laws.
When asked, Chambers, a hunter who owns numerous firearms, said he has no regrets about helping overturn the local ban on semi-automatic carbines like the one used by the grocery store gunman.
“The only reason I was in that was to make the city of Boulder comply with state law,” said Chambers, adding that his heart goes out to the families of those killed He went onto say, “I would still do the same thing I did. Do you think (the shooter) cares that the city of Boulder had an assault rifles ban? Let’s get realistic here.”
According to a database produced by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, the King Sooper’s shooting was the seventh mass killing gin the U.S. since the start of the pandemic a year ago.
On the federal front, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that “we have to act” to pass reform legislation. Democrats leaders are pushing toward a vote on expanded background checks, but it faces a difficult road in the Senate.
No major gun-legislation has been settled by Congress since the mid-1990’s, which puts the decision power in the hands of state legislatures.
The Second Amendment has long been a prominent right in Colorado, made more apparent after two state lawmakers lost their seats in 2013 after voting in favor of gun-restriction legislation. However, as the state has swung more liberal, calls for gun-safety legislation has grown and looks likely to continue trending that way.