GREELEY, Colo. - Weld County commissioners have voted to unanimously to approve an ordinance restricting the creation of local gun control measures.
The County Commissioners object to gun control measures passed during the most recent legislative session and signed into law by the Governor. Among other things, the new laws limit the amount of ammunition in magazines, adds a background check requirement for private sales, creates a fee for background checks and requires concealed carry permit classes be taken in person.
Although the county commissioners can't override state law, all five commissioners voted to approve an ordinance that prevents the county from further restricting gun rights. The protections in Weld County Code Ordinance 2013-4 establish tit for tat protections directly opposed to the new state laws.
"What we did today was take the strongest action legally according to our county attorney that we could take," said Commissioner Sean Conway. "I think it's a start. I think it tells our citizens that this board is very concerned with the action that was undertaken by the legislature and was signed into law."
"It's refreshing to me to see people finally standing up and saying 'this is right' or 'this is wrong,'" said Weld County resident Joy Breuer.
"It would've been nice to have one vote in opposition to resolution," said Weld County resident Mary Beard, who went on to say, "I just really struggle with people needing to have a huge, personal arsenal."
The ordinance says "the Board of County Commissioners shall not enact any ordinance which:
- "Limits the ammunition capacity of a firearm magazine;
- "Requires any background check of any owner or potential owner of a firearm;
- "Charges any fee related to the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm; Requires any specialized training or class related to the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm;
- "Limits the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm to specific classes of persons; or
- "Prohibits, limits, or restricts where an individual may lawfully carry a firearm within the unincorporated area of Weld County."
Most of Colorado's sheriffs, including the sheriff of Weld County, are also taking a vocal stand against the new gun laws. They're suing in federal court to block the laws requiring universal background checks and restricting the number of rounds in magazines.
"This lawsuit is for your rights and for your safety," Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said on May 17, 2013. "These bills do absolutely nothing to make Colorado a safer place to live, to work, to play or to raise a family. Instead these misguided, unconstitutional bills will have the opposite effect because they greatly restrict the right of decent, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, their families and their homes."
The Board of County Commissioners, which cannot join in the lawsuit, is also planning to file a written statement in support of their sheriff's legal battle.
"It sends a clear and concise message out there that in Weld County your second amendment rights are going to be protected," Conway said.
In addition to the statement made by the ordinance approved Monday, Weld County Commissioners last week cited the state gun laws while making a case for secession from Colorado. A bill increasing renewable energy standards in rural areas was also cited as motivation for that plan.
The five county commissioners, Barbara Kirkmeyer, William Garcia, Sean Conway, Mike Freeman and Doug Rademacher, are all in support of the proposal to form a new state, according to a county spokeswoman.