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Four Colorado municipalities set to vote on stricter gun ordinances in the wake of mass shootings

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 19:58:14-04

LAFAYETTE, Colo.  — In a park just a few blocks away from the Lafayette City Hall, there’s a bench. On that bench is a plaque honoring the life of Rikki Olds. The 25-year-old was one of 10 killed last year in a mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder.

Olds grew up in the neighborhood behind the park, just a block away from Lafayette Mayor JD Mangat. The two went to the same school and graduated in the same year.

For Mangat, that bench is a constant reminder of a life taken too quickly and too senselessly from this community. That tragedy, and many others from across the state and country, have galvanized communities to contemplate stricter gun laws.

Lafayette is considering four ordinances, a proclamation and a resolution in relation to guns. Here’s an overview about what each would do if the Lafayette City Council approves them:

  • The proclamation would set up Gun Violence Awareness Day in the city.
  • The resolution takes a stance against gun violence as a city and encourages the state to consider further legislative action.
  • The first ordinance would address signage in the city, requiring all firearm dealers to post signs at locations where firearm transfers take place.
  • The second ordinance would regulate the possession of unfinished frames and receivers of ghost guns or firearms without serial numbers.
  • The third ordinance would prohibit open carry of firearms in public places.
  • The fourth ordinance would prohibit the concealed carry of firearms on city property and in certain places, like libraries and city hall.

“This is kind of a first time for something of this magnitude at this level,” said Mangat.

Over the past few years, state lawmakers have taken a number of steps to tighten state regulations around guns. They passed a law requiring universal background checks for all firearm sales, banned magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition, instituted a red flag law, required gun owners to securely store their firearms, added more reporting requirements around lost or stolen firearms, closed the so-called Charleston loophole and created the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

The also passed a law to end preemption in the state and give localities more freedom to come up with their own ordinances.

“Last year, Colorado became the first state in the nation to comprehensively repeal that law and return the freedom to regulate for gun safety to local communities, as long as they are stricter than the state,” said Allison Anderman, director of local policy for the Giffords Center.

Lafayette is one of four communities in the area voting on gun ordinances Tuesday evening, along with Superior, Boulder and Louisville.

“They put it on us. So, part of me is thankful for that, but part of me is also like, "Okay you're punting this towards us,"” Mangat said of state lawmakers.

Boulder and Louisville are considering six ordinances to strengthen gun restrictions:

  • Ban assault weapons, large-capacity magazines and rapid-fire trigger activators and raise the age to purchase firearms
  • Prohibit carrying a firearm in certain public places
  • Regulate the purchase and possession of ghost guns and unfinished frames and receivers
  • Prohibit open carry of firearms in public places
  • Require all firearm dealers to post signs where firearm transfers take place
  • Add a new definition to city code and require a waiting period prior to the sale of firearms

Superior’s town council, meanwhile, will contemplate a 21-page proposed ordinance change that features many of the same regulations as the neighboring cities when it comes to firearms.

“Let me make one thing very clear, we would still like the state to take action, because in terms of effectiveness and enforcement, that is where we believe it can be maximized,” Mangat said.

However, Mangat admits that he’s lost faith in the federal government to pass meaningful reforms and knows localities can move more quickly than the state in passing changes.

“We have two options — do something or do nothing,” he said.

Not everyone will support the changes these cities are planning, but these communities hope it will prevent mass tragedies from happening there.