Tiny Colorado city busy repealing laws during a ‘Year of Freedom’

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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After a busy state legislative session, Glendale, Colo. — a one square-mile enclave of libertarianism surrounded by the city and county of Denver — has decided to focus on repealing laws rather than passing new ones.

During what Mayor Mike Dunafon has called the “Year of Freedom,” Glendale is revoking one vague, arcane or redundant law a month for 12 months.

The first law stricken from the books on June 4 criminalized the sale, transfer or possession of an “assault weapon,” which was vaguely defined in city code as a gun with a folding stock and a rate of fire greater than “reasonably necessary for legitimate sports, recreation or protection activities.”

Councilman Jeff Allen called it “a very bad law and badly needed to be revoked.”

The latest to land on the chopping block is one making it illtegal for minors to be in the same building as for-profit pool tables.

In an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation, Dunafon said the law — dating from the 1970s — could have been used to ruin the owner of a Glendale restaurant, who also runs an attached nightclub with pool tables. Every time a family with kids under 18 comes in for dinner, she’s committing a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

It’s a situation that could have been exploited, Dunafon said, by hypothetical unscrupulous developers who would rather run her out of business than buy out her lease.

“The basic idea is that all we do is excessively legislate,” Dunafon said. “We don’t ever take laws off the books.”

Continuing to outlaw things like minors near a pool table — Dunafon pointed out that even the YMCA has pool tables — creates a situation where “you have government as its worst,” he said. “It becomes then like a homeowners association. Guy across the street, he doesn’t like the color of your house, so he goes through the code book and makes you change the color of your house.”

Dunafon said too many elected officials forget that their jobs aren’t just about passing new laws.

“De-legislation is also legislation,” he said. “They don’t think in those terms. They just think of the next oppressive thing they’re going to do to the guy down the street. That’s really where the Year of Freedom came from. … Take this stuff off the books, clean it up and restore freedom to the people.”

That attitude is one of the reasons Magpul Industries held a Second Amendment rally in Glendale in late June. The company makes 30-round rifle magazines that Colorado outlawed on July 1 — arguably the most contentious piece of the state’s legislation passed this year. Magpul is leaving Colorado because of it. Dunafon spoke at the rally, imploring attendees to continue to fight for their rights.

The next law Glendale has targeted for extinction is one that makes it illegal to throw stones at bushes, the Denver Post reports.

The 12 laws to be repealed have been compiled by the Glendale police chief, but Dunafon said he’s happy to hear suggestions from the small city’s 4,000-plus residents.

“I’m happy to hear from any citizen who wants to be engaged in the process,” he said. “If you can stir people to paying attention to their own lives instead of letting it happen to them, that’s a wonderful thing.”

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Tags : colorado
Greg Campbell