Judge temporarily blocks Superior’s gun control rules

Colorado Guns
David Zalubowski/AP
Tributes hang on the temporary fence surrounding the parking lot in front of a King Soopers grocery store in which 10 people died in a late March mass shooting, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Boulder, Colo.

By Jesse Bedayn and Colleen Slevin/AP

Updated Saturday, July 30: The town of Superior, Colorado announced on Friday that it would not enforce its new gun control laws after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order. However, it has acquired legal council to fight the lawsuit, according to reporting in the Boulder Daily Camera.

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.

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.