Eagle County bans openly-carried firearms on all county property
The Eagle County Board of Commissioners Tuesday unanimously voted to ban the open carrying of firearms on county property. People with concealed-carry permits are exempt, as are law enforcement and licensed security officers.
Colorado’s concealed-carry firearms law requirements include:
- A person must be a legal state resident
- A person must be 21 or older
- A person must provide evidence of experience from either classes, participation in competition or proof of honorable discharge from the U.S. armed forces
- Permits are issued through county sheriffs
Eagle County Attorney Bryan Treu told the commissioners the resolution is the result of discussions starting in the summer of this year between himself, Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek, County Manager Jeff Shroll, Human Resources Director Hollis Dempsey and others.
The resolution’s genesis was long before the Nov. 19 shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. That shooting resulted in five deaths and a number of injuries. Commissioner Matt Scherr said Tuesday that the incident has been much on his mind, saying the “tone we’ve set in this country is unacceptable,” adding that “We have to do something at a policy level about access to guns.”
Colorado law allows the open carrying of firearms in most public places, not including non-secured areas of airports and some other facilities. Eagle County’s employee manual bans employees from openly carrying firearms.
Treu told the commissioners that the resolution was sparked, in part, when county aviation director David Reid told other officials that someone at the airport wanted to carry a firearm in a non-secured area.
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“We looked at the likelihood that the presence of firearms could affect operations,” Treu said.
State law allows counties to prohibit openly-carried firearms on county property. Police facilities can set their own rules. The Eagle County Justice Center already bans openly-carried firearms.
Treu noted that the group that drafted the resolution put a lot of hours into the process. Members had differing points of view on the subject, he added. While there were debates, Treu noted that all members agreed that the topic of firearms is polarizing, no matter what side of the debate they were on.
“Many citizens feel there’s a prevalence of guns,” Treu said, adding that the group came to believe that the presence of guns in county facilities could have a “chilling effect” on operations.
While the resolution applies to openly-carried firearms, Treu said those with concealed-carry permits are exempt due to the fact those people are legally required to be certified as law-abiding, safe users.
Scherr said the regulation demonstrates “the need to regulate responsible gun use and ownership, adding that a blanket ban on firearms would be probably unconstitutional, as well as unfeasible.
“We have to find our middle ground, where we can make gun ownership responsible,” Scherr said.
Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry noted she’s glad that county law enforcement backs the resolution.
The ban extends beyond county buildings and applies to county-owned open spaces.
Violating the new regulation is a Class 2 petty offense. But, Treu said, the new regulation will be advertised by signs at county facilities. And, he added, law enforcement officers will give people the opportunity to take open-carried firearms out of buildings and lock them in their vehicles.
The signs have been ordered, and the resolution took effect on passage.