In 2018, city officials in Boulder, Colorado passed a ban on assault weapons in an effort to prevent mass shootings like the Parkland, Florida shooting that took place earlier that same year.
That same ban, however, was blocked in court 10 days before a mass shooting on Monday (March 11) at a grocery store left ten people dead.
“We tried to protect our city,” Dawn Reinfeld, co-founder Blue Rising, a Colorado-based gun violence prevention group, told The Washington Post. “It’s so tragic to see the legislation struck down, and days later, to have our city experience exactly what we were trying to prevent.”
The legislation has been the source of a three-year court battle and gun violence prevention advocates, as well as law makers are calling for action, particularly in the wake of the uptick in mass shootings as coronavirus pandemic restrictions lift.
According to the outlet’s report, Boulder County District Judge Andrew Hartman ruled on March 12 that the city couldn’t impose such a ban, citing a 2003 Colorado state law that says cities and counties can’t restrict guns that are legal according to state and federal laws.
The city’s assault weapon ban, according to The Post, prohibited the possession, sale, and transfer of a range of weapons including shotguns, semi automatic rifles, and others, along with large-capacity magazines, defined as “any ammunition-feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.” The law also created a system in which people who’d own the weapons prior to the bill’s passing could get a permit.
Boulder City Attorney Tom Carr described the law in 2018 as a way to possibly prevent an attack like the one that took place Monday (March 22): “If you look at most of the mass shootings, the guns were purchased legally,” he said. “I see this as an ordinance that throws in one more barrier to someone who’s contemplating such a horrible act.”
Earlier this month the US House passed two pieces of gun legislation aimed at preventing violence.
The Boulder shooting marks the seventh mass shooting in the US in the last seven days. Last Tuesday (March 16), a gunman shot and killed eight people at three different spas in Atlanta, Georgia.
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