Concealed firearms could be banned in Denver parks and city buildings

Allowing people to carry concealed firearms in city buildings and parks makes those places less safe, Denver officials say, and now the city council is about to make it illegal even for people with IDs. a concealed carry permit.

Violators would be subject to fines of up to $999 if found with a firearm at City Hall, Carla Madison Recreation Center, Washington Park, or any other park or building owned or even partially leased by the city of Denver, if the council approves the new ban later this month.

Opponents denounce the ordinance as a violation of constitutional rights that will expose Denver residents to more danger by leaving them unarmed.

“For years, administrations and council members have been asking the city attorney’s office, ‘What more can we do to protect our citizens from the risks associated with guns?’ “It has always been a response and it is a response that we have been barred from pursuing by state law.”

That changed last year when the Democratic-controlled state legislature passed Senate Bill 256. This legislation declared gun regulation to be a matter of national and local concern and gave each municipality the power to enact its own rules.

Post offices, schools and federal buildings already prohibit concealed carry permit holders from bringing in firearms, Assistant City Attorney Reggie Nubine said. Now, the city would follow suit in hopes of mitigating risk across all of Denver’s parks and facilities.

People are not infallible. Sometimes people go crazy and mundane situations can turn into dangerous ones when firearms are involved,” Nubine said at the April 27 safety committee hearing.

This was the city attorney’s office’s second appearance before the committee to discuss the ordinance. At the first hearing on April 13, a vote was postponed to allow officials to gather more information to answer a host of questions from council members.

Questions included whether there was data to support the claim that limiting the number of firearms in a facility made that facility safer.

During the April 27 hearing, Rogers provided links to national searches. At least 14 academic studies suggest that allowing people to carry guns in public leads to a significant increase — 13 to 15 percent — in violent crime, according to these findings.

District 2 Councilman Kevin Flynn remained skeptical, wondering if the legislation was a solution in search of a problem.

He asked for numbers on the number of gun-related incidents at city parks and facilities involving people with concealed carry permits. The Denver Police Department did not track this data point specifically, Nubine said.

“I just have a hard time understanding why we keep the whole class on recess because of the misbehavior of some who don’t have a license,” Flynn said.

A fatal shooting at La Alma-Lincoln Park in west Denver led the city to close that park and recreation center indefinitely last week. It is not known if the suspect in this murder, Trahavonie Deshawd Smith, had a concealed carry permit.

The penalties offered by city officials start with fines of up to $50 for a first offense and fines of up to $999 for additional offenses. Jail time was originally on the table, but the city attorney’s office needs to change that to comply with state law, spokeswoman Jacqlin Davis said this week.

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

La Alma-Lincoln Park in Denver is closed on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, several days after a fatal shooting occurred in the park.

Based on committee-level feedback, the ordinance has strong support within the board.

District 5 Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer, who joined a gun buy-back program this year, said at the April 27 hearing that she heard from many voters shocked to learn that concealed firearms were permitted in city parks. District 3 Councilwoman Jaime Torres questioned the consistency and quality of the requirements that concealed carry permit holders must meet. She received a certificate that would have allowed her to obtain a concealed carry permit after a three-hour course in which she never handled or fired a firearm, she said.

“I don’t think it’s necessary or appropriate for members of the public, city employees or anyone else to have a weapon concealed in a city facility,” Council Speaker Stacie Gilmore added during the interview. of this hearing.

The bill will be on Monday’s city council agenda for a first reading on Monday. A second reading will take place on May 16. Second readings are where public hearings usually take place. The measure has already sparked an uproar during open council comment periods.

“This measure, if passed, will actually reduce the safety of families and penalize responsible adults who exercise due diligence to protect their loved ones in a landscape where criminals fail to uphold laws like these,” said Denver resident Tim Bearden at Monday’s council. Meet.

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