BOULDER – Colorado’s background check law seems to have shot a hole in a gun buyback event sponsored by a liberal group that aimed to collect and destroy weapons and ammunition magazines.
It would be nearly impossible to comply with law concluded Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who agreed previously to participate in the event. Consequently, the event sponsors were forced to cancel the gun buyback in the parking lot of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department on Aug. 3.
The law became effective July 1 and requires all gun sales and exchanges to pay a licensed firearms dealer to execute background checks through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In addition to the problem of background check fees, InstaCheck system can’t be accessed on the site because it’s not a mobile system.
“The bottom line is what we anticipated doing would still be legal, procedurally we can’t follow through with it at this time,” Pelle told the Boulder Daily Camera.
After the Aurora theater shooting last summer, Together Colorado began planning the event to encourage gun violence awareness and promote a culture of nonviolence.
“We do not see this as a Second Amendment issue; it’s a responsibility issue,” said Sheila Dierks, member of Together Colorado and reverend for Light of Christ Ecumenical Catholic Community in Longmont.
According to the Boulder newspaper, Dierks said Together Colorado is concerned about massive gun tragedies as well as accidental shootings by carelessness. Together Colorado describes itself as a “non-partisan, multi-racial, multi-faith community organization.”
For the gun buyback, Together Colorado enlisted graduates of Centaurus High School to raise an estimated $8,000 to pay for sporting event tickets and retail gift cards which would be used to compensate people for turning in guns and ammo.
“People are desperate to get a gun out of the home because it’s a threat to safety,” said Dierks.
To get rid of the weapons, Dierks said that “people sneak them out of the house. The reality is those people don’t care what they make” in selling the guns.
But that could be a Catch 22. It’s unlikely the weapons would be secretly removed from a home by the licensed gun owner. The new law requires a background check of the weapon to ensure it belongs to the licensee – and is not considered stolen which would be a criminal offense.
When Savant Suykerbuyk, a Marine Corps veteran, learned of Together Colorado’s plan to collect and destroy guns, he organized “Operation Mountain Standard,” a fundraising event at Boulder Gunsport to benefit Rocky Mountain Gun Owners in March.
In a symbolic protest, donors received ammunition magazines larger than 15 rounds, which are now banned after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the gun-control legislation into law.
“I don’t think gun buybacks do anything in terms of limiting gun crimes or gun violence,” Suykerbuyk told the Boulder Daily Camera. “I don’t see why an opportunity should be passed up to get guns into the hands of people who want them and can use them responsibly.”
Pelle agreed, “I’m not sure it will help make any difference in regards to gun violence.”
Together Colorado members held a prayer vigil to protest the fundraiser for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and declared it was a “perversion of Second Amendment rights and a great threat to the safety of our citizens.”
Dierks said the prayer vigil was organized “to encourage peace in our community and peace in the world. There is no animosity toward any individual, but I think most of us are afraid of guns.”