Erie leaders may approve an ordinance banning citizens from openly carrying firearms and other deadly weapons in town-owned buildings, a watered-down iteration of a previous proposal that would have extended the same prohibition across the town’s open space and trails system.
Officials said Friday that the decision to pull back on the bill’s scope came in the wake of its reveal last month, when dozens of residents spoke at the July 24 Board of Trustees meeting and called for its rejection.
“I understand that there are people who are really passionate about Second Amendment rights and that whenever you’re going to talk about guns or restrictions there’s going to be opinions on both sides of the issue,” Erie Mayor Jennifer Carroll said.
She added that another reason for the revision was due in part to the number of calls police get about firearms on open space and in parks, which police say have only prompted a dozen or so reports: “It’s not happening enough to justify the change when people are so passionate abut the issue,” Carroll said.
The proposal was originally introduced by town staff, according to Carroll, who added, “I’m fine with bringing it to the board and discussing it and seeing where it goes, but just because it’s on the agenda doesn’t mean we’re going to (approve it).”
The reined-in proposal is unlikely to appease the town’s gun rights activists, who say the proposal is only the latest effort to infringe on Second Amendment protections across Boulder County.
Boulder City Council earlier this year enacted a ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines in the city.
“I am very serious about upholding the Second Amendment and very concerned about ordinances that tend to vilify the Second Amendment,” Erie resident Jim Briars told trustees last month. “A few years back, the Nazi party ordered gun registration and it allowed them to perform genocide and murder 6 million people.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the Second Amendment protects the right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense, but Erie’s legal counsel said Friday that they believe the town’s ordinance — if approved — would not conflict with federal law.
The bill would apply to only a handful of buildings, including town hall, Erie Community Center, the police station and public works facility, among others.
Boulder and Superior have a nearly identical law prohibiting the carrying of deadly weapons in city buildings, and Lafayette bars its residents from openly carrying firearms and other deadly weapons in both city buildings and open open space, according to its municipal code.
While similar laws in surrounding cities have been rather innocuous, officials say, the stir in Erie is likely due to the town’s divided political climate. Many of its citizens reside in the town’s Weld County half, where right-leaning ideals and resistance to regulations on issues ranging from fracking to the Second Amendment abound.
Officials say the new language would not affect current protections for private and public property owners other than the town prohibiting “the carrying of deadly weapons into or upon other public or private property.”
A criminal violation of the proposed ordinance, according to Erie’s municipal code, could carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and up to $2,650 in fines.
If approved, ordinance would prohibit openly carrying firearms and deadly weapons from town-owned buildings