Boulder, Colorado had a ban in place preventing the use of assault weapons that was blocked just days before the state’s most recent attack.
Now lawmakers and officers are scrambling to try and dissect the details behind the latest mass shooting incident and are reexamining gun safety laws, per The Washington Post.
Boulder, Colo. banned assault weapons in 2018 but just 10 days after the ban was blocked in court, the city found itself in the midst of a tragedy it tried to prevent.
Police have a suspect in custody who they believe opened fire on a grocery store with an assault rifle, killing 10, including a police officer.
One of the plaintiffs who sued the city over the weapons ban, the Colorado State Shooting Association said this is not the time to discuss gun laws.
“There will be a time for the debate on gun laws. There will be a time for the discussion on motives. There will be a time for a conversation on how this could have been prevented,” said the group in a statement. “But today is not the time.”
Initially, the ban prevented the use and sale of semiautomatic rifles, many shotguns, and instruments that make a weapon automatic. A permit was established for those who already had the weapons and large-capacity magazines with “any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds” were also banned.
Co-founder Dawn Reinfeld, of Blue Rising, a Colorado gun violence prevention group, said she is disappointed that their efforts to keep the city’s residents safe fell short.
“We tried to protect our city,” said Reinfeld. “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.”
But gun rights groups actively rallied to overturn the ban. A month after the bill passed some residents and the Colorado State Shooting Association challenged it in court.
On March 12, Boulder County District Judge Andrew Hartman agreed with the plaintiffs, citing a 2003 Colorado state law. That law says that cities and counties do not have the right to enact local gun control measures on weapons that are legal at the state and federal level.
The “need for statewide uniformity favors the state’s interest in regulating assault weapons,” wrote Hartman. He added that Boulder’s ordinance “could create a ripple effect across the state” and cause others to pass their own bans.
A day after the ruling officials advised police officers to stop enforcing the ban.
Colorado’s North Central region has seen nine school shootings since the 1999 Columbine massacre when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and one teacher at their high school on April 20.
As reported by theGrio, stricter gun laws across the nation may now have a better chance of passing.
President Joe Biden said with urgency “we have to act” on gun control in his first public comments from the White House Dining Room on the horrific grocery store shooting Monday in Boulder, Colorado.
The president also said “My heart goes out,” to those impacted by the nation’s latest mass shooting.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday called the grocery store massacre “absolutely baffling.” The attack left 10 people dead, including a police officer who was responding to the scene, and victims that ranged in age from their 20’s to their 60’s.
“It’s 10 people going about their day living their lives, not bothering anybody. A police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism,” said Harris.
John Hudak, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute said there needs to be a “holistic approach” with all ideas combined into one comprehensive policy to address these repeated deadly phenomena.
“It is not as simple as putting background checks into place, it is not as simple as putting money into mental health care. It’s not as simple as trying to make sure that people who have committed dangerous acts in the past don’t have access to weapons,” Hudack told theGrio.
Additional reporting by April Ryan
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