Castle Rock: Sufficient signatures received on petition to seek public vote on open-carry gun law

Effort affects carrying of guns on town property

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. - The Castle Rock town clerk said Thursday that there are enough valid signatures to move forward with a referendum process seeking a public vote on the open carry of firearms on town property.

The referendum petition seeks to reverse the town council's January decision to allow the open carry of firearms in all town-owned or controlled properties.

Pursuant to the town charter, a petitioner is required to submit signatures of 5 percent of voters on Castle Rock voter registration rolls at the time the form of the petition was certified. In this case, that is 1,887 signatures.

According to town officials, the petitioners for the referendum, Jacob Vargish and Siegfried Guentensberger, submitted signatures on Feb. 26, of which 2,249 were validated.

With signatures now verified by the town clerk, the next step is to wait for the protest period to expire.

Officials said if an individual or group wants to protest the petition, they must file within the 40-day protest period, which ends at 5 p.m. on April 7.

After disposition of any protest to the clerk’s findings that may be filed, the town council must rescind the ordinance or set an election date for voters to decide its fate.

Until this process is complete, council officials said the January repeal is on hold, and the 2003 ordinance remains in place -- meaning open carry is still prohibited in most town-owned buildings and town-owned parks.

The town's former law allowed the town manager to mandate where open carry was allowed when it came to town owned property.

The council's January decision does not impact private businesses, nor buildings owned by other local governments, such as schools, or Douglas County government buildings, officials said.

Also, a judge's order prohibits firearms in Castle Rock Municipal Court when the courtroom is monitored by a metal detector.

However, concealed carry of a handgun with a permit is allowed almost anywhere in Castle Rock, per state law. Permits are issued by county sheriffs and are valid for five years. 

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