Grand Junction’s Panhandling Law Is Unconstitutional, Judge Says

A panhandling ordinance in Grand Junction has been ruled unconstitutional, with a federal judge saying it's not OK to stop people from asking for money after dark.

The decision Thursday from U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello means that Grand Junction will be barred from enforcing its 2014 ordinance limiting panhandling.

The judge ruled that Grand Junction's panhandling ordinance was too broad and curbed constitutionally protected speech. She wrote that Grand Junction was using a sledgehammer to solve a problem that could be solved with a scalpel.

The city argued the ordinance limited aggressive panhandling, not passive panhandling. Among other things, the ordinance banned asking for money at night.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Grand Junction last year. Grand Junction never enforced the ordinance, pending a legal decision.

The ACLU has challenged similar laws in Fort Collins, Telluride, Greeley, Durango, and Colorado Springs.