November 07, 2004

Warning: Denver Does Not Want Your Business

The city of Denver can go to hell. Straight to hell. No passing go, no two hundred dollars. Straight. To. Hell.

Why? Because the bastards not only argued that their local laws that infringe upon the Right to Arms trump a state pre-emption law, but the courts have agreed with them.

I first heard of this at the Rocky Mountain Bloggers Bash while talking with Jeralyn of TalkLeft. She told me about the story in the Rocky Mountain News so many thanks to her for the tip.

Let me start off by telling you that I try to keep profanity to a minimum around here. Usually I'll take a few minutes before I write about something that incenses me & compose my thoughts in a more rational, PG-13 type manner. I won't break with that tradition now, but it's damn hard.

Two names to remember: Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell & Judge Joseph E. Meyer. The first helped argue that Denver's gun laws trump state laws that protect individual Rights. The second decided that Denver's gun laws trump the state's attempt at protecting individual Rights. If Denver were a ship heading for hell these two should be on the bow.

"I agree with the city's argument that open carrying is a matter of purely local concern, in at least insofar as Denver is concerned,' Meyer wrote in his ruling.

'Denver is by far the most densely populated area of Colorado,' Meyer's decision said. 'Denver also suffers rates of violent crimes far in excess of statewide averages."

Open carry or concealed carry is not a matter of local, state or federal concern. It's an individual matter not subject to approval or disapproval by the state. By claiming that a city has the power to regulate or prohibit it the judge, among other things, spoke very clearly to the question of individual Rights: he doesn't recognize them.

Another interesting possibility: since Denver's alleged interest in regulating behavior trumps state law (even when Denver's law violates the state constitution) this means Denver can establish a city-wide religion, or ban certain religions, or quarter police officers in a citizens home against their wishes, or compel you to testify against yourself.

I'll grant that that may be a slight exaggeration, but depending upon how the ruling itself was worded it's not much of one. If Denver can ban firearms they can ban newspapers or pamphlets. Will they? It's doubtful anytime soon at least, but it's possible (again depending upon how that bastard Meyer worded his decision).

& since I'm not going to be shy about calling Meyer the sunuvabitch he seems to be, it's possible that this blog could be banned in Denver. & that bastard Hickenlooper (the mayor) is far from blameless in my eyes & I'll gladly inform him of the questionable ancestry that could cause such a logical disconnect as to pursue this damned court action in the first place - so maybe that will get me banned in Denver. Or perhaps this blog will be banned in Denver because I'm about to advocate people violate the laws in Denver.

Yep: if you live in or have need to pass through Denver ignore the gun laws. Try not to get caught, but ignore them.

& lest you think I'm a hypocrite, I violated Denver law tonight. I was within the city limits with a firearm in my vehicle. Since I don't have a CCW that pond scum judge by the name of Meyer would agree I was violating Denver's ban on carrying firearms, despite two constitutions to the contrary. I also had a high capacity magazine.

I intend to avoid Denver whenever possible, but seeing as how all the east & southbound interstates run through it I can guarantee that I will violate Denver law again.

What I will not do is spend money inside the Denver city limits if I can possibly avoid it. Being the cheap bastard I am I'm pretty sure I can avoid it.

& no, I'm not trying to get this blog banned in Denver. I could care less actually whether the city of Denver even acknowledges my existence.

Owens hasn't decided if the state will appeal the case as of yet. I'd hope he would but it wouldn't surprise me if he avoided the issue altogether. Hell, I'm still wondering how Owens & Salazar (who claim they're pro-gun - at least to an extent) managed to screw up what seems to me a very simple, direct, persuasive argument: a city cannot pass laws that violate protections afforded to individuals in a constitution concerning their Rights.

I'm damn tempted to move back into Denver, get a folding stock for my 10/22 (or hell, get someone to fabricate a bayonet mount for it), buy a few more high capacity magazines, get a $100 pistol (i.e. junk gun) & store them unlocked (violating Denver's safe storage laws). But I won't. Not because I fear the Denver PD, but because I won't pay taxes in or otherwise spend money in a place that holds my Rights in such disdain.

& I will take the title of bastard myself in this. Why? Because I wasn't in the courtroom. I filed no amicus curiae brief on behalf of the state. I didn't make my voice heard by the court in an attempt to keep them from drifting down this dark & ignorant path they apparently are coasting along on. It's partly my fault as I used to live in Denver.

A note to satisfy my lawyers (at least the ones who read my blog): before violating any law know the law. Understand what it does & doesn't do, & most importantly understand why it violates your Right. Be prepared for some form of consequences should you get caught. & do not do anything else illegal while engaging in civil disobedience of a law that is at best constitutionally questionable & at worst a heinous infringement of a Right. If you're caught it may not be cheap or easy to walk away, but if you feel the law is unjust then do not comply with it.

Hopefully that will appease my lawyer friends.

In any event let me reiterate: the city of Denver can go straight to hell.

Posted by Publicola at November 7, 2004 01:40 AM

Granted, I've not done a ton of research on the matter, but it would seem to me the judge is right in this case (even though I may disagree with the outcome itself).

Denver is a home-rule city and is allowed to pass laws so long as they don't run afoul of the state constitution. Article II Section 13 of the Colorado constitution defends the right to bear arms, but also makes clear it does not protect concealed carry. Seems to me that the "right" decision was made.

Of course, I've no idea about how provisions for home-rule were established, etc, so perhaps that would have an impact.

Posted by: andy at November 8, 2004 06:57 AM

Andy - home rule status does not justify the infringement of an individual Right. Even if I were to agree with you concerning concealed carry (which the state constitution does not protect) we're still looking at bans on mere possession - either in the home (if you have a junk gun or assault weapon) or in public (if you carry a firearm in your car or openly)

In fact the judge excepted concealed carry with a state issued permit in some situations, so his ruling is almost completely opposite of your thinking on the matter.

But the bottom line is that a judge ruled that Denver may pass laws that infringes upon individual Rights acknowledged by two constitutions as well as state law. It would not be a strecth for Denver to ban or mandate a certain religion using the home rule logic the judge seems to be using. It won't happen like that anytime soon, but depending upon how he worded the opinion itself I'd be hard pressed to see how his ruling wouldn't inevitably lead to that conclusion if pressed on the matter.

Posted by: Publicola at November 8, 2004 12:38 PM

Denver has already proven itself again that their city government would trash the Bill Of Rights by banning and confiscating pit bulls. The banned dogs were taken without compensation almost immediately after the court challenges against the city`s ban failed. I thought the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution forbid the taking of property by government without compensation.

Posted by: Tom at July 24, 2005 01:28 PM
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