Briefline

Judge temporarily blocks Boulder County ban on semi-automatic weapons, large capacity magazines

By: - August 31, 2022 1:07 pm

Anna Segur of Boulder holds a sign at a gun reform rally in downtown Boulder on April 18, 2021. (John Herrick for Colorado Newsline)

A federal judge temporarily blocked Boulder County from enforcing its ban on some semi-automatic weapons and large capacity magazines, delivering a win to a Colorado gun-rights group in its pursuit to challenge gun restrictions in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

U.S. District Court Judge Charlotte Sweeney issued the temporary restraining order on Tuesday, concluding that the plaintiffs, the Loveland-based group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and its legal arm, the National Association for Gun Rights, have a “substantial likelihood of success on the merits” to challenge the constitutionality of the Boulder County ban.

RMGO first filed a similar lawsuit against gun restrictions in Superior earlier this summer. A judge in that case prohibited the city from enforcing its gun law.

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The group’s primary legal argument rests on the recent Supreme Court decision that ruled that people have a constitutional right to carry a gun outside of their home for self defense, striking down a New York state public-carry licensing law.

“We are on fire, we just can’t stop winning in the courts,” Taylor Rhodes, the executive director of RMGO, said in a statement. “Because of the correctly decided Bruen decision authored by Justice Thomas this summer, the floodgates are open, and we are taking back the rights that evil tyrants stole from us. All judges, no matter their political persuasion, will be forced to rule that our right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed – and that’s exactly why this TRO was issued.”

Boulder County will still be able to enforce its ban on rapid-fire trigger activators.

The city of Boulder announced in a statement following the judge’s decision that it will “voluntarily” pause its enforcement of the ban in order to “allow time for more legal coordination among neighboring jurisdictions.”

Boulder County and the cities of Boulder and Louisville, which RMGO has also sued over their gun restrictions, are trying to consolidate their cases with Superior so that there is just one court hearing to determine if the temporary restraining order should be extended for the duration of the lawsuit, rather than having separate hearings for each case.

“This decision in no way demonstrates a lack of resolve by Boulder’s City Council or administration. We believe these bans are both necessary and legal,” City Attorney Teresa Taylor Tate said in the statement. “However, council has always recognized that taking a regional approach to gun violence prevention is beneficial. That is what we are striving to do today.”

A status conference for the case is set for Sept. 8. The temporary restraining order is valid for 14 days unless it is modified by the court.

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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.

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