The open carrying of a gun into some Jefferson County facilities may soon be prohibited, after the Board of County Commissioners voted 2-1 at the May 21 public hearing to approve an ordinance to ban “open carry” firearms in certain locations.
District 3 Commissioner Donald Rosier cast the opposing vote, citing support for the second amendment.
“This (ordinance) would allow the sheriff to conduct annual vulnerability assessments to determine which buildings it would be appropriate to have this ban in effect,” county attorney Writer Mott said during the hearing.
Jeffco Sheriff Ted Mink also helped present the ordinance, that his department helped propose after a couple of recent incidents involving people bringing weapons in to county office space, causing a disruption.
Mink said the ban was intended to be implemented only in offices where county department heads had requested it. These offices are places where “a high level of anxiety, and anger, or frustration” may occur.
He said so far, the District Attorney’s office, a couple human services locations and the sheriff’s department building were on the initial list to consider a ban.
“Obviously, open carry does create a disruption for county staff in some of those buildings,” Mink said.
Open carry-banned areas would have to be well marked, to comply with state law which allows for open carry in public places. The open carry ban would not prohibit those with a concealed carry permit from bringing in a firearm.
“Until this item showed up I did not realize it was lawful for anyone to openly carry a firearm in county buildings,” Jeffco resident Jim Engelking said during the public hearing. He added that he would like to see the ban extended to all county buildings.
Lakewood resident and firearms instructor Aaron James Brown took a different view, expressing concern that the ban limited Second Amendment rights and could be extended even to open space parkland.
”It’s only law abiding citizens who openly carry,” Brown said.
District 2 Commissioner Casey Tighe said he felt the ordinance struck a balance between public safety and second amendment rights.
”Some of the business done in this building can be controversial. There can be tension involved, and there’s always the concern that someone with an open carry is just trying to intimidate,” Tighe said.
Commissioner Rosier, who said he carries a concealed weapon every day, said he disagreed with the ordinance, saying that ”signs don’t stop crime.”