Despite angry protests and the threat of a looming lawsuit, the city of Boulder, Colorado, took a bold stand for gun control this week.
The city council unanimously passed an ordinance on Tuesday to ban the sale and possession of assault weapons, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines — becoming one of a handful of cities nationwide that have taken action to change its gun laws in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting massacre.
Owners of assault weapons, defined by the ordinance as “semi-automatic firearms designed with military features to allow rapid spray firing,” have until December 31 to relinquish or destroy their guns. But a grandfather clause also allows residents who currently possess an assault weapon to apply for a permit proving prior ownership.
The permit will only be granted to gun owners who pass a background check and are not prohibited by law from owning a gun. The owner must also agree to store the firearm in a safe place and report a loss of the weapon to law enforcement within 48 hours.
Members of law enforcement and military personnel are exempt from the new restrictions.
Councilman Sam Weaver told the Daily Camera that the grandfather clause ― which applies to people who legally obtained assault weapons prior to June 15, 2018 ― was included as an “olive branch” to gun owners.
Opponents of the measure, however, were not assuaged.
Hundreds of pro-gun activists lined the streets of Boulder last month to condemn the ban.
“It is not a party issue, it is a people issue and a right issue,” one demonstrator told CBS 4 at the time.
Attorneys from the Mountain States Legal Foundation pledged to challenge the ban in court on the grounds that it violates “the Second, Fifth and 14th Amendments [and] the Colorado Constitution.”
Councilwoman Jill Adler Grano was reportedly the first to suggest the ban back in February, in the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.
“It felt like a no-brainer to propose this,” Grano said at the time, according to the Daily Camera. “Each time we have a shooting, it is a reminder of the fact that we are failing miserably at protecting our citizens ... It’s time for municipalities to take the lead on this, and while just the city of Boulder alone, with our 100,000 people, may not move the needle, if other municipalities follow suit and this becomes a national trend, that’d be really important.”
Since Parkland, a number of other towns and cities have taken steps to tighten their gun laws. In April, Deerfield, Illinois voted to ban assault weapons and fine lawbreakers up to $1,000 a day. Several cities in Florida have also passed resolutions calling for stricter gun legislation.