Guns and Gear

Colorado town considers requiring assault-style weapons in every home

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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The city council of Craig, Colo., a small mountain town that relies on hunting for much of its economic activity, is seriously pondering a citizen’s proposal to mandate that every household have at least one sporting rifle equipped to hold a high-capacity magazine.

Town leaders said such a law would be practically impossible to enforce, but resident Craig Rummel, who floated the idea at a recent council meeting, said the point would be to send a message to the state legislature, which he said was “hammering” rural towns with new rules on gun ownership, energy policy and other issues.

“Our voices are not being heard, but if we pass an ordinance, it will go viral, and then they’ll be forced to listen to us,” he’s quoted as saying in the Craig Daily Press.

Town officials are giving the idea some weight.

“There is enough support up here of what you are saying,” said Craig Mayor Terry Carwile, “and I think there’s room for you to convince us.”

High-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds will be illegal in Colorado as of July 1, although those who own them before the deadline can keep them. Since the new law also bans new sales of magazines that are capable of being modified to hold more than 15 rounds, it effectively outlaws all magazines, because most can be easily converted to hold more bullets.

That law, and others regarding gun control, have deeply divided the state, with some western and rural communities complaining that Denver politicians are overlooking their interests.

When the Democratic-controlled legislature passed a measure to increase renewable energy mandates on rural electric coops from 10 to 25 percent by 2020 — a move many believe will raise electricity rates for rural customers — Rummel told the council that little towns like Craig had been ignored long enough.

“We have tried the traditional routes, and we have good representation at the state in Sen. (Randy) Baumgardner and Rep. (Bob) Rankin, but the Western Slope doesn’t have the votes in Denver,” Rummel told the council.

“We need to think outside of the box and let the rest of the country know we are not in lockstep with Denver.”

While many on the council voiced support for the measure as a way of sending that message, at least one worried that it would bring unwanted negative attention to the town.

“The state of Colorado is the laughingstock of the country,” councilmember Don Jones is quoted by the paper as saying. “We’ve passed an amendment legalizing marijuana that violates federal law and we’ve passed gun laws that violate the Second Amendment.

“I don’t think passing an ordinance requiring all residents to own an AK-47 is the type of attention Craig wants.”

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