A Boulder, Colorado District judge has handed another victory to the concept of state gun law preemption by striking down an ordinance in the City of Boulder that outlawed possession, sale or transfer of semi-automatic sporting rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
According to Complete Colorado, District Judge Andrew Hartman hammered down on the regulation because it conflicts with the Centennial State’s preemption law. Such laws are on the books in more than 40 states. They prohibit local governments from adopting gun laws more stringent or in conflict with state gun laws.
Alan Gottlieb, founder and CEO of the Second Amendment Foundation, lauded the judge’s ruling even though this was not a SAF case.
“This wasn’t our case,” Gottlieb acknowledged in a prepared statement, “but it was the right decision by Judge Andrew Hartman. He ruled against the city ordinance because it violated Colorado’s state preemption law, which prohibits such local ordinances as the one in Boulder. Anti-gun politicians and organizations target such laws because they require uniformity in state gun laws and prevent the creation of legal minefields designed to trip up law-abiding citizens.”
SAF is challenging gun control laws in two cities in Washington State on the same grounds that they violate the Evergreen State’s 36-year-old preemption statute, one of the first in the country.
“The Court has determined that only Colorado state (or federal) law can prohibit the possession, sale, and transfer of assault weapons and large capacity magazines,” Judge Hartman wrote. “The State of Colorado has passed laws that are effectively a scheme preempting local governments from enacting municipal firearms and magazine possession ordinances.”
According to Personal Defense World, “The ruling makes clear state law supersedes any local ordinance that would violate citizens’ gun rights. The judge’s permanent injunction becomes a big win for Colorado gun owners.”
The gun prohibition lobby despises preemption statutes. Such laws block efforts to enable liberal anti-gun municipal governments from adopting their own gun control ordinances which may conflict with ordinances in neighboring jurisdictions. It was such a checkerboard pattern of gun control laws that led lawmakers in Washington State to adopt the preemption concept. They were led by the late Kent Pullen, then a Republican state senator.
“This is the way state preemption laws, which we wholeheartedly support, are supposed to work,” Gottlieb said. “Our hats are off to the plaintiffs in this case, Robert Chambers and James Jones, Gunsport of Colorado and the Colorado State Shooting Association. Their victory is a win for all Centennial State gun owners.”
The Colorado State Shooting Association is an affiliate of SAF’s sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. CCRKBA did not have an active role in the Colorado case.
A Washington State Court of Appeals panel ruled unanimously in a SAF lawsuit that the City of Edmonds acted illegally when it adopted a so-called “safe storage” requirement a few years ago. SAF and the National Rifle Association challenged that restriction and a similar one in the City of Seattle.