(The Center Square) — The Weld County Board of Commissioners reaffirmed the county’s Second Amendment sanctuary status on Friday in response to several anti-gun bills meandering through the state legislature.
The move means the board stands by its 2019 decision not to adopt any ordinance which abridges or restricts a person’s individual right to bear arms. At the same time, the Weld County Sheriff has sole discretion to enforce firearms laws that may be unconstitutional.
“Weld County is a Second Amendment Sanctuary County because the Board of Weld County Commissioners honor the Constitution of the United States and the rights of individuals to defend themselves and their families,” Commissioner Lori Saine, a former state representative, said in a statement.
Commissioners cited three bills they're opposing: House Bill 21-1298, House Bill 21-1299, and Senate Bill 21-256. The legislative package was introduced last month in response to the mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers in March that left 10 people dead.
Commission Chair Steve Moreno said SB21-256 poses the greatest threat to gun rights in Colorado.
The bill would allow local governments to pass their own ordinances concerning the sale, purchase, or possession of firearms. However, the ordinances wouldn't be able to be less restrictive than the regulations already codified in state law, according to the bill’s text.
It is sponsored by Sens. Steven Fenberg, D-Boulder, and Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, and Reps. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder, and Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada.
Commissioner Mike Freeman said the bill would allow local governments to violate rights enshrined in Colorado Constitution.
“State law says Article II, Section 13 of the Colorado Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. Passage of this bill will allow local governments to willfully violate this right,” Freeman said in a statement.
HB 21-1298 would expand background check requirements in the state. It would require firearms dealers to obtain a completed background check before transferring a firearm to a buyers. State law currently allows for such transfers after three days.
HB 21-1299 would establish the state Office of Gun Violence Prevention, an agency tasked with conducting public information campaigns about federal gun laws and awarding grants to support community-based gun violence intervention initiatives.
Weld County Commissioner Scott James said of the bills that “more government is never the answer to a problem.”
“There is a problem in this country with gun violence and there is a desperate need in this country to have an honest conversation about mental health. These bills do nothing to address either of those issues,” James added.