Castle Rock town council garners support for stance on guns

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Castle Rock Town Council members received resounding support for going public with their position against pending gun legislation.

With one exception, residents who attended the March 19 council meeting supported council’s objection to firearms laws proposed by state legislators. Council’s objection came in the form of a formal resolution supporting the Second Amendment and opposing legislation restricting the ownership and use of firearms.

Councilmembers opted to go public with their opinion about gun legislation at the state level because of the potential threat to the U.S. and Colorado constitutions, said Mayor Paul Donahue, District 1.

“In my mind, the legislation produced by House and Senate bills is counter to the Constitution of the United States, specifically the Second Amendment,” Donahue said. “Our oath is to uphold that Constitution. (W)e will be emailing and or faxing our resolution to the governor’s office tonight or tomorrow morning to be sure it’s on his desk before he signs the law into legislation.”

The legislation was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper the day after the council meeting, to require background checks for all firearms exchanges, limit ammunition magazines and impose fees for CBI background checks.

Councilmembers believe the governor’s approval could trigger more fallout.

“I’ve heard rumors of recall, lawsuits, all kinds of chaos,” Donahue said. “I am pleading with Governor Hickenlooper right now to not sign these bills into law until we look at it more closely and see what we can do to have a more reasonable and proper discussion about what makes sense for Colorado.”

Nearly a dozen people spoke in public hearing to support council’s position. Among them was former Castle Rock utilities director Ron Redd, who applauded councilmembers for taking a public stand against the legislation.

“I’m somewhat aghast and shocked how quickly a constitutional right can be eroded in this country,” Redd said. “I have a lot of respect for people who live boldly, stand for what they believe, regardless of the consequences. Our history has a lot of people who have done that. The good news is we see that in our daily lives but you rarely see the courage of a governing body to do that.”

The lone objection to council’s action came from Rachel Scarborough, who read from a letter written by her father, a retired judge. Town council’s position does not reflect the view of all residents of Castle Rock and jeopardizes the town’s reputation as a family-friendly community, she said.  

Scarborough cautioned councilmembers to take more time to consider a formal position. She shared insight from a letter submitted by her father.

“The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, is not absolute,” she read. “Just as the right to speech is not absolute or any other right in the Constitution. If the government has a compelling interest to regulate the ownership of guns, it can do it. It’s a question of reasonableness, including a threat to public safety. Reasonable laws regulating guns as to place manner and kind is constitutional.”

To view a copy of council’s resolution, visit www.crgov.com, go to “town council” under “town government,” select “watch council meetings live” and select the agenda package for the March 19 meeting. The resolution is item number 10.