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🚫 Does Denver have a gun problem?

BY PEYTON GARCIA | @CITYCASTDENVER


DENVER’S CRACKING DOWN ON GUNS

A Denver city council committee is scheduled to hear a bill proposal today that would ban people from carrying concealed firearms in city-owned or city-leased buildings and parks.

More than just the parks around the city though, Denver also owns some relatively tucked-away park spaces in the mountains, like Summit Lake, Echo Lake, Pence Park, and Buffalo Bill’s famous grave and museum. The proposed concealed carry ban would extend to those locations, too.

Gun laws have been a topic of major focus for Denver lawmakers in recent months. As Denver homicide rates reached a record high in 2021, data shows that guns are almost always involved, accounting for 85% of the city’s 96 murders last year. There’s already been nearly 20 gun-related deaths in Denver so far in 2022.

Open carrying is already outlawed within Denver, and last month, Gov. Jared Polis barred open carrying within 100 feet of polling stations anywhere in the state. (Military personnel and law enforcement members are typically excluded from such bans.)

In January, Denver city council banned any possession of “ghost guns,” or DIY firearms with no serial numbers or traceable markings. (The U.S. Department of Justice is also working to push through prohibitive laws on ghost guns at a federal level.) And just last week, Colorado made it illegal for people convicted of certain felonies to possess a gun. 

The Colorado Springs-based Advocacy organization RAWtools is currently running a series of gun buyback events in Denver for the summer, where the community is invited to anonymously turn in unwanted guns that will be reconstructed into gardening tools. The first event hosted last month at Empower Field at Mile High in partnership with the Denver Broncos resulted in the “deactivation” of 189 guns.

If the concealed carry ban passes through the committee, the full council would vote on the bill in May. 


TODAY ON THE PODCAST 🚲

“You’re just not going to walk up to a person that doesn’t look like you and start talking about race relations in America… But in this particular case… no one felt afraid to talk because we were on bikes.” — Bicycle advocate Marcus Robinson

The Idaho Stop Is About More Than Cyclist Safety. It’s About Racial Justice.
experience new things and reach places he’s never been able to reach before. It was this idea that inspired him to create Ride for Racial Justice in 2020 amid the protests over the murder of George Floyd. He thought if he could get people talking to each other about race from the seat of a bicycle, folks might be more open to listening.

Robinson has continued to push for racial equity from his bike, most recently by testifying in favor of the “safety stop” bill passed by the state legislature. The safety stop, or “Idaho stop,” would let cyclists roll through stop signs legally. It might seem like a small change, but producer Paul Karolyi chats with Robinson today about how this is a big win in the fight for racial justice and safety.


MORE NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

✊🏿 Colorado formally honors Juneteenth: Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign a bill to make June 19 — aka Juneteenth, a date celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. — an official paid state holiday. Most schools and state offices would close in observance. Nine other states formally recognize the holiday. [AP]

⛰️ 22 Colorado peaks, creeks, and valleys just got new names: And six others will soon follow. The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board has begun the process of changing the names of 28 geographic features and areas around the state to exclude a derogatory word historically aimed at Indigenous women. It’s part of an effort on a federal level to scrub the slur from U.S. maps. [CO Sun]

🏫 Adams 14 school district prepares to argue for its survival: District leaders will face a hearing with the State Board of Education this week. The board has said it’s considering major school closures, serious reorganization, or possibly even dissolving the district after years of “low achievement.” But the district believes it can still turn things around. [Chalkbeat

  • 🤔 Some food for thought: Read up on the lingering impact of Manual High School’s closure in 2006, which was similarly justified with critiques of poor performance. 

🍼 Diapers are cheaper in Aurora: After a 6-3 city council vote on Monday, Aurora is the first city in Colorado to waive local sales tax on diapers (for adults and babies). The decision is expected to cost the city around $575,000 in lost revenue. Aurora was also the first to waive local sales tax on menstrual products last year. [Aurora Sentinel]

💰 Denver goes to town on home improvement projects: Denver has budgeted $22 million for a new police station and $13 million for 16th Street Mall renovations that are set to begin this week, plus $330 million worth of other projects around the city. The money is coming from two voter-approved bond packages passed back in 2017 and 2021. [Denver Post]


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