BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Boulder passed a slate of new gun restrictions on Tuesday night that ban assault weapons in the city, raise the age to buy guns to 21 and take other measures to help prevent impulsive gun crimes and suicides.
“Gun violence continues to escalate in a maddening trend upward that’s daunting to watch and horrific to experience,” Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Friend said at Tuesday night’s council meeting. “But shrugging or turning away and accepting the worsening status quo is not OK. Implementing common-sense gun laws is the right thing to do.”
Council Member Bob Yates said the ordinances “identify dangerous and unusual weapons, vulnerable potential gun users, and sensitive places where guns, used inappropriately, can do the greatest harm.”
The laws are similar to other gun restrictions passed or advanced Tuesday night in Lafayette, Louisville and Superior.
In the package of ordinances, Boulder City Council points to the deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history and the military-style assault rifles the killers used to commit mass murder. This includes Aurora, where the theater shooter used an assault rifle and a 100-round drum magazine, and Boulder, where the King Soopers shooter used an AR-style pistol said to be designed for short-range combat.
The council wrote that these weapons “are designed for and have repeatedly been used to inflict mass casualties and enable other violent crimes” and found “that they are “ill-suited to and unnecessary for responsible self-defense.”
Boulder City Council already passed an assault weapon ban in 2018, after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It also banned high-capacity magazines and raised the legal age to have guns from 18 to 21. But a court in March 2021 voided it, finding that state law pre-empted the ordinance.
That same month, the King Soopers shooting happened. The legislature then repealed the state’s pre-emption law, allowing local municipalities to enact gun laws tougher than the state’s.
Here is a breakdown of what’s in the bills.
Assault weapon ban
Boulder Ordinance 8494 law bans the sale and possession of assault weapons, large-capacity magazines and rapid-fire trigger activators, like bump stocks. It also raises the age to purchase firearms to 21.
In Boulder, anyone who legally had an assault weapon or large-capacity magazine before July 1 has until Dec. 31 to get a certificate for the weapon from the police department. Those seeking a certificate of ownership will have to get a background check.
Anyone who legally had a rapid-fire trigger activator, like a bump stock, before July 1, has until Aug. 1 to either get it out of Boulder or surrender it to the police department to be destroyed.
Certified assault weapons can’t be bought, sold or transferred in the city. Anyone who receives one, say through inheritance or bequest, must make it inoperable, surrender it for destruction, transfer it to a licensed firearms dealer or permanently remove it from the city.
No assault weapon bought on or after July 1 can be held in the city.
If someone’s certified assault weapon is used in a crime, the owner will be civilly liable unless the weapon was stolen and the theft was reported to police within 48 hours after the discovery was made.
For more on what’s considered an assault weapon, read more here.
Guns prohibited in certain public places
Ordinance 8525 prohibits open or concealed firearms in certain places. This includes city buildings or on city properties. They are also prohibited at any facility licensed to serve alcohol, pursuant to state law.
They are also prohibited in hospitals and healthcare centers, places of worship, stadiums and arenas, courthouses, banks, theaters, daycares and preschools and grocery stores.
Ghost gun ban
Ordinance 8526 deals with “ghost guns,” which are untraceable guns without serial numbers. They are often created by 3-D printers or kits that make them practically impossible to trace.
It will be a civil offense for anyone to have a gun that is not identified by a serial number. It will be a criminal offense to have one or more unserialized guns with an intent to sell or distribute them.
Open carrying prohibited
Ordinance 8527 prohibits the open carrying of firearms in public. It also requires that anyone carrying a gun in public must keep it unloaded and locked in a recognizable gun carrying case.
Warning signs required at gun dealers
Ordinance 8528 requires firearms dealers to display signs that say the following in English and Spanish:
WARNING: Access to a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, death during domestic violence disputes, and the unintentional death of children, household members, or others. If you or a loved one is experiencing distress and/or depression, call 1-844-493-8255. Posted pursuant to Section 5-8-40, B.R.C. 1981.Sign required at Boulder firearm dealer locations
10-day waiting period
Ordinance 8529 requires a waiting period before a person can buy a gun.
Anyone who tries to buy a gun will have to be approved by a background check and will not be able to get the gun until 10 days after the dealer submitted for the background check.