By Jesse Bedayn and Colleen Slevin, The Associated Press
A federal judge has temporarily blocked the town of Superior from enforcing parts of a new gun control ordinance, including a ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons, after it was challenged by gun rights groups.
U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Moore issued a temporary restraining order on Friday against Superior, noting that the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the National Association for Gun Rights and a Superior resident, Charles Bradley Walker, had established a likelihood to prove their case in challenging two sections of the ordinance. Moore scheduled an Aug. 4 hearing to determine whether to continue to keep Superior from enforcing those sections.
The other section requires people who already had assault weapons before the law took effect on July 1 to get a permit to continue to possess them but largely only on their own property. The law defines assault weapons as a number of different semi-automatic weapons.
Moore’s ruling included several references to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a New York law that had required people to show why they needed a concealed weapons permit. He noted that the court found that Americans have the right to bear commonly used arms in public, subject to reasonable and well-defined restrictions, and that governments must identify “an American tradition” to justify any limits on their use.
Moore said he was sympathetic to the town’s stated reasons for passing its law, including the use of assault weapons in mass shootings like one that killed 10 people at a Boulder supermarket in 2021.
“However, the court is unaware of historical precedent that would permit a governmental entity to entirely ban a type of weapon that is commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, whether in an individual’s home or in public,” he said.
Encouraged by Moore’s ruling, Taylor D. Rhodes of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said Monday the group is considering trying to block other recently enacted local gun laws in Colorado from being enforced.
“The Bruen decision gave us a four-ton wrecking ball,” said Rhodes, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision on the New York law. “We are looking at city, county and state” gun restrictions.
Superior and other local governments only recently gained the ability to pass their own gun regulations. Louisville and Lafayette passed their own ordinances the same night Superior’s town board voted on theirs.
Last year, state lawmakers repealed a state law that prevented local governments from passing gun ordinances more restrictive than state laws in response to a shooting that killed 10 people at a Boulder supermarket in March 2021.
Jesse Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.