Briefline

Gun rights group sues Colorado town over new firearm restrictions

By: - July 11, 2022 5:00 am

A community member kneels to place flowers and mourn near a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder the day after a mass shooting left 10 people dead at the site on March 22, 2021. (Carl Payne for Colorado Newsline)

A far-right Colorado gun rights group and a national gun rights organization sued the town of Superior on July 7, arguing that the town’s recent firearm regulations are unconstitutional.

In June, the Superior Town Board voted unanimously to pass updated regulations regarding assault weapons, the purchase and sale of firearms in the city, large capacity magazines and trigger activators.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, however, asserts that what it terms “standard capacity” magazines and semi-automatic rifles are protected under the Second Amendment.

GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

“Superior’s anti-gun ordinance flies directly in the face of our right to keep and bear arms, and we’re not going to stand idly by and let this town — or any other rogue government — trample on our right to self-defense,” RMGO executive director Taylor Rhodes said in a statement.

The lawsuit references a decision last month from the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down part of New York’s concealed carry law. In the Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen, RMGO argued, the court rejected a scrutiny model that has historically allowed lower courts to rule against the Second Amendment. Rhodes called that decision a “wrecking ball” for gun rights organizations to go after firearm regulations. Other Colorado jurisdictions recently have enacted local gun restrictions.

“Given the Bruen decision, the ludicrous ordinances passed by Superior, Boulder, Boulder County, and frankly, the 2013 Colorado standard capacity magazine ban are all just waiting to be challenged,” Dudley Brown, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights president, said. “None should be able to withstand the new rules established by Justice Clarence Thomas.”

Thomas wrote the court’s majority opinion in Bruen.

If a judge strikes this down in Superior, it can have implications in the whole 10th Circuit.

– RMGO executive director Taylor Rhodes

RMGO is joined by the National Association for Gun Rights and the association’s legal defense arm, National Foundation for Gun Rights, in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court of Colorado. It lists the plaintiffs as the town of Superior and Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.

Rhodes told Colorado Newsline that the group does not have plans right now to go after other Colorado cities with restrictive firearm regulations, but the decision to do so will be based on how the Superior lawsuit turns out. He called the Superior regulations the “tip of the spear” for this type of litigation.

“If a judge strikes this down in Superior, it can have implications in the whole 10th Circuit,” he said. “But we’re starting here.”

The Boulder, Lafayette and Louisville governments all approved gun violence prevention ordinances in June, and the Longmont City Council is considering one. A 2021 state law allows local governments to regulate firearms, legislation that came in response to the March 2021 shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder.

rmgo-v-superior-redacted

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

MORE FROM AUTHOR