Mayor seeks repeal of ban on open gun carrying in town buildings

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It would make him feel “a little uncomfortable” if he knew audience members could be carrying weapons, Castle Rock Councilmember Clark Hammelman said at a June council meeting, in response to Mayor Paul Donahue's request to consider repealing the town's open weapons ban in municipal buildings.

“I would feel a little bit funny if they're sitting there with their shotguns next to their chairs … and then when they come up to the witness stand they come up with their assault weapons. That would just bother me. It might be intimidating,” he said, and laughed.

But Hammelman and the rest of the council, except Councilmember Chip Wilson who was absent, agreed to direct staff to research the possible repeal as well as two other Donahue requests.

Donahue asked and got consensus to consider raising the fine for a minor in possession of marijuana from a maximum of $100 to $1,000, along with imposing mandatory community service.

He also wants to “have our national motto put up here in council chambers.” Donahue said he'd like “In God We Trust” put “where people can see it, where it's visible.”

That item, which would just be a policy decision, will be on the agenda later this summer. Donahue said he wants to get feedback from residents.

Regarding the concerns Hammelman expressed June 4 about possible weapons in the hearing room, Donahue said he understands, but that people have a right to do it.

“The Constitution grants them that right,” he said. “I'm not in the position to say we can just arbitrarily restrict that because … it makes us uneasy.”

Councilmember Jennifer Green at one point also commented that there were people in the building with concealed weapons permits, and that as far as anyone knows there might be a room of everyone carrying concealed weapons.

As for the pot fine, Donahue said that based on research he's done, marijuana is a gateway drug. Also, since the implementation of medical marijuana, there has been a significant increase in marijuana use by teenagers in Colorado, he said. Donahue said he wants to make the fine stiffer so teens will “think twice about possessing.”

Councilmember Renee Valentine asked that there be an emphasis on community service, since teens probably would turn to parents for help paying the fine.

All three matters are expected to come in front of the council sometime this summer.

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