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Boulder, Colo. Bans ‘Assault Weapons,’ Prompting Lawsuit Threat

Salesman Ryan Martinez clears the chamber of an AR-15 at the “Ready Gunner” gun store In Provo, Utah, June 21, 2016. (George Frey/Reuters)

The Boulder, Colo. city council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the sale and possession of ‘assault weapons,’ high-capacity magazines, and bump-stocks, prompting a pro-Second Amendment group to threaten legal action against the city and individual councilmembers.

The ordinance passed by the council defines assault weapons, which will be banned as of July 15, as “semi-automatic firearms designed with military features to allow rapid spray firing for the quick and efficient killing of humans.” Individuals who purchased such weapons prior to July 15 will be allowed to keep them, provided they obtain a certificate from the Boulder Police Department, but those who fail to dispose of their bump stocks and high-capacity magazines by that date will face fines.

The ban also applies to “all semiautomatic action rifles with a detachable magazine with a capacity of twenty-one or more rounds,” as well as “semiautomatic shotguns with a folding stock or a magazine capacity of more than six rounds or both.”

Attorneys for the Mountain State Legal Foundation, who spoke against the ordinance during the open-comment period before the vote, vowed to challenge it in court on behalf of an unidentified client, alleging “violations of the Second, Fifth and 14th Amendments, [and] the Colorado Constitution,” according to local Fox affiliate KDVR-TV.

Cody Wisniewski, a staff attorney for the group, told Fox that individual councilmembers would be named in the suit, though he will not be able to hold them personally liable for any violations of the Constitution.

Councilwoman Mirabai Nagel said she was hesitant to support the ban due to the high volume of legal challenges she expected it would invite.

“We’re going to see a lot of court cases coming before us,” Nagle, who ultimately voted in favor of the ordinance, told Colorado Public Radio. “I think that we’re going to spend a lot of time and money. It’s not that lives aren’t worth that, but I think that there was a better way of going about this.”

“I don’t agree with this ordinance in many ways,” Nagle added. “It’s not perfect.”

Though a number of municipalities across the country have enacted similar bans in the wake of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the Boulder ordinance’s requirement that citizens obtain a permit from the local police to retain their lawfully purchased firearms is unprecedented.

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