Post, Rocky Err on Denver Gun Restrictions

The Denver Post misstated Denver gun ordinances today, and the Rocky Mountain News published a misleading claim about them.

Following is the Post’s misstatement:

Gun ruling splits Coloradans
By Brian Malnes
June 27, 2008

Currently, Denver city ordinances… require state gun licenses to possess or own firearms…

Denver Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell said, “I don’t know where he got that from… Clearly he misunderstood something I said or what somebody else said… It might have been conflating the state concealed carry issue…” Colorado residents do need a permit to carry a gun concealed.

Broadwell added that the facts around licensing are important, as “that’s what some cities do,” such as Washington, D.C. However, Colorado has no “generalized permit system,” nor does Denver have any plans to require permits.

The Rocky claimed:

Supreme Court Decision won’t affect regulations in Denver, experts say
By Berny Morson, Rocky Mountain News
Friday, June 27, 2008

In the city [of Denver]: major provisions
Semiautomatic weapons are banned in most cases.

Note that the quoted line was tacked on as extra information to the article, so it’s not clear whether Morson wrote it.

Broadwell said the statement is true “to the extent that semiautomatic weapons are addressed in the assault weapons ordinance.” However, I noted, most semiautomatic guns do not fall within Denver’s assault-weapon classification. “I see your point,” Broadwell said.

Broadwell also offered a more general disclaimer: “If there’s not quotes around it… very often a [newspaper’s] paraphrase will get something slightly awry.”

Here’s how Denver’s Municipal Code defines an assault weapon:

Sec. 38-130. Assault weapons.
(b) Definitions…
(1) Assault weapon shall include all firearms with any of the following characteristics:
a. All semiautomatic action, centerfire rifles with a detachable magazine with a capacity of twenty-one (21) or more rounds.
b. All semiautomatic shotguns with a folding stock or a magazine capacity of more than six (6) rounds or both. …