In May, the City Council in Boulder, Colorado, unanimously passed an ordinance that banned so-called “assault weapons” and now prohibits the sale and possession of semiautomatic rifles, as well as high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.
While there was a grandfather clause attached to the new law for owners of such rifles, allowing them to “obtain a certificate proving prior ownership,” the deadline was the end of 2018, and so far, only 342 residents have been certified when it’s very likely there are hundreds, if not thousands more who own such firearms, the Washington Times reported last week.
Boulder residents had until the end of 2018 to obtain certificates proving prior ownership, otherwise they could face violations, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera. In order to receive the certificate, residents had to apply, pay $20, have their firearm inspected and be put through a background check.
Now, those are found in violation of the town law – meaning they’re found to own semiautomatic rifles without having obtained a certificate of prior ownership – are subject to fines of $1,000 and 90 days in jail for each violation.
The deadline to “acquire certification was December 31, 2018, but as of that date only 342 had been certified, an indication to police that many individuals are in violation,” the Washington Times pointed out.
“I would say the majority of people I’ve talked to just aren’t complying because most people see this as a registry. Boulder actually has a very strong firearms community,” Lesley Hollywood, Executive Director of the Colorado Second Amendment group Rally for Our Rights, told the Washington Times.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 7, 2019
Now, residents who did not receive certificates of prior ownership are left wondering what happens next.
“There’s no circumstance where we go door-to-door and ask people if they’ve violated the law,” City Attorney Tom Carr said.
Residents are against any type of gun registry, but the city argues that certification is different than registration.
Hollywood calls it the “ ‘not-a-registry’ registry.”
“The question was, do I do this [refuse to comply] publicly or do it privately, and I’ve chosen to do it publicly because somebody has to. There will be thousands of people in Boulder living in the shadows, worried about somebody turning them in,” Boulder resident Jon Caldara told the Washington Times.
Caldara said the Boulder City Council tends to enact a zero tolerance for any “lifestyle they don’t like.”
He said, “In this town that spouts tolerance for alternative lifestyles, that actually puts posters all over its buildings and schools about it, when it comes to a lifestyle they don’t like, there is no tolerance. So, for me, this all works around the word tolerance. And tolerance means tolerating things you dislike, that you find scary.”
Speaking on non-compliance, Caldara said, “Without a doubt, there are more than 342 [rifles in the city]. I think potentially there are thousands.”
Caldara added, “I don’t like this at all. I’m scared. I do not want to go to jail. I don’t want them to confiscate my guns. I’m scared sh*tless about what’s going to happen to my kids. The idea of my son being without his dad for three months is awful. I just want some damn consistency.”
A post on Facebook from Council Member Aaron Brockett said, “I’m proud that we’ve taken a stand and become part of the growing movement towards common sense gun control in our country.”