BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The city of Boulder paused the enforcement of a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines until further notice.
The city said its reason is to “allow time for more legal coordination among neighboring jurisdictions.” Boulder County was issued a restraining order by a judge on Tuesday as part of the lawsuit filed by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
In addition to the city, Lafayette, Superior and Louisville in Boulder County also passed new gun laws in early June.
The decision comes after several lawsuits have been filed in federal court by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Foundation for Gun Rights against the ban of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The gun rights advocacy groups claim the ordinances are unconstitutional.
A judge temporarily blocked the town of Superior from enforcing parts of the gun control ordinance, including a ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons as part of a lawsuit brought by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the National Association for Gun Rights and a Superior resident.
The town of Superior also filed an unopposed motion asking the court to consolidate the lawsuits into one. The gun advocacy group supports the motion and is awaiting a decision from the judge.
“We always anticipated that some of our gun violence prevention measures might face legal challenges. While these rulings are not directly related to the City of Boulder’s measures, we believe it is prudent to work with our neighbors on a coordinated legal strategy,” City Attorney Teresa Taylor Tate said. “Specifically, the cities of Boulder and Louisville along with Boulder County will seek to consolidate the lawsuits against each jurisdiction with the case against Superior.”
The city said the purpose of the pause is to see if the cases will be consolidated to avoid several separate hearings by multiple judges after Superior was issued a restraining order in the chance that order gets extended to the other lawsuits involved.
What Boulder’s gun ordinance includes
Boulder City Council referred to the deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history and the military-style assault rifles the killers used to commit mass murder in the gun-restriction ordinances passed. 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 ban consisted of these parameters:
- Ban the sale and possession of assault weapons, large-capacity magazines and rapid-fire trigger activators, raising the age to purchase firearms
- Prohibit the carrying of firearms in certain public places
- Regulate the possession of unfinished frames and receivers, and unserialized firearms
- Prohibit the open carrying of firearms in public places
- Require all firearm dealers to post signs at all locations where firearms transfers take place
The assault weapon ban that has been paused includes the sale and possession of assault weapons, large-capacity magazines and rapid-fire trigger activators, like bump stocks.
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.
What’s considered an assault weapon and large-capacity magazine
Boulder City Council wrote in the ordinance that assault weapons have “unique features that allow shooters to rapidly fire a large number of rounds — more than is ever needed for lawful self-defense — while maintaining control of the firearm in order to accurately target and kill more victims.”
The city defines a “large-capacity magazine” as “any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.”
For more on the gun laws in Boulder County:
What’s in Boulder’s new gun laws?
New gun laws pass in Boulder County
Gun group sues Superior over law to ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines
What is considered an assault weapon?
The city said it’s not disabling the council’s decision rather it’s looking to a regional plan to combat gun violence.