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Denver gun control upheld — sort of

Posted by Richard on June 6, 2006

The Colorado Supreme Court split 3-3 on the question of whether Denver’s status as a "home rule" city trumps state law, thus letting stand a lower court decision upholding some of Denver’s strict gun control ordinances. From the Rocky Mountain News:

The legal battle began when state lawmakers passed legislation in 2003 that barred cities such as Denver from enacting ordinances more restrictive than state law. The idea was to bring uniformity to the variety of local gun laws across the state.

Denver, which has some of the strictest firearm laws in the metro area, challenged the state legislation as a violation of its authority as a home-rule city.

Two Denver district judges ruled that while the state legislation overrode some ordinances, Denver still had the right to regulate assault weapons, so-called "Saturday night specials" and the open carrying of firearms in public.

Denver District Judge Joseph E. Meyer ruled in 2004 that Denver’s dense population and violent crime rate outweighed the state’s need for uniformity in gun laws.

Notice that the legal battle was over Denver’s "rights" versus the state’s "rights." The rights of us peons apparently didn’t enter into the debate, even though the state constitution says our right to bear arms can’t even be "call[ed] into question." Well, at least state-wide "shall issue" concealed carry remains in effect.

The unusual tie vote was a result of the newest justice, Allison Eid, recusing herself because she argued the case on behalf of the state when she worked in the Attorney General’s office. A tie leaves the lower court ruling intact, but fails to resolve the fundamental question of whether the state legislature can override local ordinances in home rule cities.

In addition to a ban on open carry and ugly guns, Denver also has some kind of "safe storage" requirement that was upheld, but I don’t know what it actually requires. If they want to bust me for having a Ruger Mark II on my dining room table, so be it.

Jed at FreedomSight has more info and links, along with the proper touch of sarcasm.

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