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Eagle County bans open-carry firearms on county property

eagle county community center in el jebel
Caroline Llanes
/
Aspen Public Radio
The Eagle County Community Center in El Jebel is one of the county properties where open-carry firearms are now banned.

On Tuesday, Eagle County commissioners unanimously approved a ban on the open-carry of firearms on county property.

The ban applies to county buildings and facilities and their grounds, as well as county undeveloped lands, including Eagle County Open Space land.

The recent shooting the Club Q in Colorado Springs, where five were killed and more wer injured, hung over the meeting.

County Attorney Bryan Treu says the timing of the resolution was “appropriate.”

“Recent and, unfortunately, recurring events, tragedies in Colorado and across the country, has made many of our citizens feel like there’s a prevalence of guns in our society,” Treu said. “And so we felt the presence of open-carry firearms in our facilities would have a chilling effect on both our staff and community members we serve.”

The ban does not apply to law enforcement officers in the state of Colorado or people with a concealed-carry permit for firearms.

Officials say concealed-carry firearms were excluded from the ban, due to the already stringent requirements for people with a concealed-carry permit.

Commissioner Matt Scherr said he was on board with that decision.

“If we’re going to move forward as a community with any type of gun regulations, I think we all have to get on board with the idea of ‘What does that look like?’” he said. “As opposed to saying no gun regulations whatsoever versus all guns go away, somewhere in between we have to find our middle ground. We looked to people to find ‘Where can we make gun ownership responsible?’ For me, this was that compromise and message — that we’re doing concealed carry because of its stringent licensing and training responsibilities.”

Treu says a violation of the resolution would be a Class 2 petty offense.

“So, obviously, that’s not our goal, is to write tickets,” Treu said. “What we really want to do is educate through signage, and keep open-carry firearms out of our buildings and our facilities and give the sheriffs or any of our security folks the opportunity to have people leave that aren’t following that.”

The ban was effective immediately upon commissioners’ approval, and officials say they have already been working to get signage up.

“I suspect the public would be surprised to know we didn’t already have this in place,” said Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry. “So, I’m to see it, and it looks thorough and supported by law enforcement.”

Caroline Llanes is a general assignment reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering local news and City of Aspen-based issues. Previously, she was an associate producer for WBUR’s Morning Edition in Boston.