Eagle Town Board lifts gun restrictions that it says violated state law | VailDaily.com

Eagle Town Board lifts gun restrictions that it says violated state law

EAGLE — Eagle Town Board members unanimously agreed on Tuesday, Sept. 26, to gut a regulation restricting where gun owners could carry firearms.

The board took fewer than 10 minutes to agree that the town ordinance flew in the face of state law and repealed it. The whole thing started with signs at Eagle's BMX park and open space prohibiting people from carrying firearms, mace and switchblades in those areas.

Restrictions are illegal

The issue came up when a client of Alpine Arms, an Eagle gun shop, asked the shop owners if the town's restrictions were legal. The Alpine Arms owners asked Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a nonprofit gun rights organization, for its opinion.

No, wrote Rocky Mountain Gun Owners attorney James Bardwell, those restrictions are not legal.

"The town's policy prohibiting possession of firearms is itself prohibited by Colorado law," Bardwell wrote in a three-page letter.

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Eagle's regulations also prohibited people from openly carrying firearms in bars and said concealed weapons were prohibited, even when the owner has a concealed carry permit. That also flies in the face of state law, Bardwell wrote.

"Nothing in Colorado law makes a permit for concealed carry of a handgun invalid in a location with a license to sell liquor by the drink," Bardwell wrote.

Ed Sands, Eagle town attorney, was succinct in his legal advice to the town board.

"They are correct, and our ordinance is wrong," Sands said after Tuesday's meeting.

Eagle town board member Matt Solomon made the motion to repeal the regulations. It passed unanimously.

What other towns do

Gypsum is annually named a Playful City U.S.A. The town boasts a shooting sports park and a motocross park, along with its many other recreational facilities. It has no restrictions, beyond Colorado's state law, about where you can carry firearms.

Avon's only restriction prohibits someone from discharging a gun within city limits. That includes pellet guns and BB guns.

Vail's restrictions are not new. Vail voters passed their assault weapons ban in 1995, ironically in the same election that Vail voters decided they did not want a cemetery in the town.

Vail's municipal code has an entire section regarding weapons restrictions, focusing on what Vail defines as "assault weapons." Vail says it is "unlawful to carry, store, keep, manufacture, sell or otherwise possess" an assault weapon in the town.

Vail defines assault weapons as:

• Being shorter length than recreational firearms;

• Having a folding stock;

• Is a modification of an automatic firearm originally designed for military use;

• Has a greater rate of fire or firing capacity than reasonably necessary for legitimate sports, recreational or protection activities;

• Has a detachable magazine with a capacity of 21 or more rounds.

• All semi-automatic shotguns with a folding stock or a magazine capacity of more than six rounds or both.

Vail's list of prohibited weapons includes 23 models of rifles, seven pistols and three shotguns. Break Vail's rules and your gun can be confiscated and destroyed, and you could face fines up to $2,650 and as many as 180 days in jail.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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