Residents of Boulder, Co., have until December 27 to “certify” their “assault weapons” or remove the firearms from city limits. Those who fail to comply could face fines, jail time, and confiscation and destruction of their firearms, according to the Denver Post.
Boulder police say they have certified 85 firearms since the city council passed an “assault weapons” ban in May. Residents who already owned prohibited rifles, pistols, and shotguns were given the chance to keep their firearms by certifying prior ownership with police. The council also voted unanimously to ban “high-capacity” magazines and bump stocks.
“My hope is that we will see more bans at the state level and one day at the federal level so these weapons will no longer be available,” Councilman Aaron Brockett said in May.
Boulder police Sgt. Dave Spraggs stressed to the Post that no records or paperwork are kept of these certifications. He claims that police only keep a “handwritten count” of how many rifles residents certify.
It’s difficult to estimate compliance levels, and police and city officials have admitted that they can’t do much about gun owners who refuse to certify their rifles.
“This is a very divisive issue where people have very strong feelings,” City Attorney Tom Carr told the Daily Camera. “The folks who oppose these kinds of bans … some of them suggest they’re not going to cooperate. I can’t predict what people are going to do, but I respect the feelings.”
Others voiced their skepticism more forcefully.
“By definition, effective governing must be practical and enforceable,” Boulder resident John Ramey told the Camera. “When something isn’t enforceable, like the war on drugs, that’s a huge sign that the underlying legal model doesn’t match the actual problems and realities.
“At best, ineffective laws just displace or morph the problem. Mass shootings declined after Australia’s weapons ban, but gun-related crimes doubled in just five years. In countries like the UK and China, they now deal with daily fear of acid, knife, and vehicle attacks.”
The Boulder ordinance defines “assault weapon” to include semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns that feature the usual list of terrifying accessories (pistol grips, folding stocks, etc.).
Spraggs says he doesn’t know how many rifles to expect between now and the deadline. Technically, residents have until December 31 to register their firearms, but due to the holidays, the last day an officer will be available to certify firearms is December 27.