The progressive leaders of Boulder, Colorado, approved a controversial ban in 2018 on AR-15 rifles and firearm magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
In the wake of a judge’s ruling this week, however, the city can no longer enforce the restriction.
Fears of a “statewide de facto ban”
According to reports, the ban was invalidated on the basis that it exceeded state and federal laws.
At the heart of the debate is whether municipalities in Colorado have the authority to enact more severe gun restrictions than allowed under state law. A 2003 state law seems to determine that they do not, since inconsistent local regulations result in “persons being treated differently under the law solely on the basis of where they reside.”
State Judge Andrew Hartman cited that statute in striking down the Boulder ban on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The ordinance carried penalties of up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
In his ruling, Hartman declared: “The Court has determined that only Colorado state (or federal) law can prohibit the possession, sale, and transfer of assault weapons and large capacity magazines.”
The judge also warned that the municipal ban “could create a ripple effect” in other cities, ultimately culminating in a “statewide de facto ban” on the targeted firearms and accessories.
“The most bigoted city in Colorado”
For its part, the city of Boulder has not determined whether it will appeal the decision. Police in the city will not enforce the ban unless Hartman’s ruling is reversed.
Former Denver Post columnist Jon Caldara, who attracted attention for publicly disobeying the ban, told the Washington Free Beacon that he was “thrilled” by the decision but anticipates that progressives will attempt to repeal the 2003 law.
“Since the case rested on the state’s preemption law, I wouldn’t be surprised if the gun-phobes in the legislature want to start taking a whack at our preemption,” he said.
The pro-gun advocate brought his own challenge at the federal level and has claimed that his opposition to the ban transformed him into a local pariah in what he called “the most bigoted city in Colorado.” He has also complained that the city is full of residents who “particularly hate people who have guns.”
Some of those anti-gun locals have already spoken out against Hartman’s ruling, including Colorado Ceasefire’s Eileen McCarron, who said: “Cities and counties know best whether certain weapons are inappropriate in their neighborhoods.”