A gun-rights group is suing Superior for their gun control ordinance, which includes a ban on semi-automatic rifles

Courtesy of Ross Taylor
Paige Becker, a student at the University of Colorado Boulder, placed flowers on the makeshift memorial outside of the King Soopers where 10 people were killed. She placed the flowers on Thursday, March 25, 2021.

Three cities in Boulder County enacted a collection of ordinances to limit access to guns, including raising the age to buy certain types of weapons and banning carrying concealed firearms in public. Now, one of those cities faces a legal challenge to the new laws. 

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners filed a lawsuit against Superior after the ordinances were enacted a year after a mass shooting in a Boulder King Soopers and week after 19 children and two teachers were shot at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.  

Boulder and Louisville also enacted gun ordinances last months. And Boulder County is considering gun control laws that go beyond state and federal regulations.

In Superior, the Town Board of Trustees unanimously approved its version of gun control in one comprehensive ordinance. 

The lawsuit focuses on that Superior ordinance –– which the gun-rights group says is unconstitutional and violates the Second Amendment –– for its banning of high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic rifles, often referred to as “assault-style” rifles, such as AR-15s. 

During the passage of the ordinance, trustee Mark Lacis said the restrictions were reasonable and consistent with the Second Amendment but worried they weren’t enough.

“Every single day these tragedies continue to occur and they are no longer anomalies,” Lacis said. “They are a part of our day-to-day lives.”

But Rocky Mountain Gun Owners disagreed.

“Superior’s anti-gun ordinance flies directly in the face of our right to keep and bear arms, and we’re not going to stand idly by and let this town – or any other rogue government – trample on our right to self-defense,” said Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, in a statement.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A Boulder Police car covered with flowers and remembrances at a ceremony honoring the late Officer Eric Talley on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Talley was killed a year ago on this day during a mass shooting at the King Soopers supermarket on Table Mesa Drive.

Superior’s ordinance also raises the minimum age to purchase and possess a firearm to 2. Previously, those younger than 21 could not purchase a handgun while the minimum age to purchase a high-power rifle was 18. The ordinance prohibits open carrying and concealed carrying of a firearm in public places. It also requires gun dealers to display warning signs explaining the dangers of firearms in the home.

The lawsuit references a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling –– New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen –– that overturned New York State’s concealed carry law.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that owning and carrying firearms is an individual, incorporated, and enumerated right,” Rhodes said in the statement. 

“Frankly, last month’s Bruen decision gave gun rights organizations a 4-ton wrecking ball to dismantle gun laws that we have known to be unconstitutional since their conception. If you think this stops in the small town of Superior, you are mistaken,” the statement read. 

In Louisville, the City Council unanimously passed six gun ordinances.City Councilman Caleb Dickinson, who voted in favor of all the measures, said another mass shooting will happen despite taking steps to curb such events locally. 

“There will be another mass shooting tomorrow,” Dickinson said last month. “Regardless of what we do tonight. That’s horrifying.”

Resident Katie Lace lives near her son’s elementary school in Louisville. During the public testimony before the ordinances were enacted, she spoke about the uncertainty of safety every time she takes her child to school.  

“Every day after I walk my son to school and look out the window of the room I use as my office, I wonder if today is going to be the day” Lace said.

CPR's Alison Borden contributed to this report.