Craig resident proposes ordinance requiring heads of households to own rifles

Craig resident requests council pass pro-gun ordinance

In other action...

During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:

• Hosted a workshop to discuss 2013 projects, programs and plans.

• Approved, 7-0, the April 9 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 7-0, the renewal of a tavern liquor license for the Popular Bar.

• Approved, 7-0, special events permits for Grand Olde West Days.

• Witnessed the presentation of a Citizen Meritorious Service Award to Clay Dietrich by the Craig Police Department and Craig Fire/Rescue.

• Heard information about the Colorado Statewide Investment Program from Ben Mendenhall, of PFM Asset Management, LLC.

• Heard Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership update from Interim Director Audrey Danner.

• Approved, 7-0, a request from Justin Jenison regarding water and sewer taps.

• Approved, 7-0, the appointment of council member Tony Bohrer to the Economic Development Partnership Board.

• Approved, 7-0, the appointment of council member Joe Bird to the Human Resources Council.

• Heard the March finance report.

• Heard the March and annual water and wastewater reports.

— Craig resident Craig Rummel appeared before the Craig City Council on Tuesday night with a unique proposal.

Citing years of attacks by the Colorado General Assembly on the industries that drive Craig and Moffat County’s economy — namely coal, power and hunting — Rummel asked City Council members to consider passing an ordinance requiring heads of households within Craig city limits to maintain a modern sporting rifle capable of accepting high-capacity magazines.

A draft of Rummel’s proposal included exemptions for those not physically or mentally capable of operating a firearm; financially unable to afford purchasing a firearm; who have been convicted of felony; and who oppose owning a firearm for religious or other personal reasons.

The immediate question on the minds of council members was how such a law would be enforced.

Rummel said he did not draft the ordinance to be enforced but to hopefully send a message to the state and nation.

“Coal, the power plant and hunting pretty well sums up what we offer here in Craig, America,” Rummel said. “For too long, the state Legislature has been hammering us, and they’re destroying our economy. Our voices are not being heard, but if we pass an ordinance, it will go viral, and then they’ll be forced to listen to us.”

Despite their collective agreement with Rummel’s intended message, council members mostly were unified in their desire not to abuse the power of their office by passing an ordinance for the sole purpose of sending a message.

Council member Ray Beck questioned why the same message couldn’t be sent in the form of a resolution, which is more of a statement of belief than an enforceable law.

Rummel cited the Moffat County Commission’s recent trip to Denver to testify against Senate Bill 13-252, which would increase renewable energy mandates on rural electricity cooperatives from 10 percent to 25 percent by 2020.

“We have tried the traditional routes, and we have good representation at the state in Sen. (Randy) Baumgardner and Rep. (Bob) Rankin, but the Western Slope doesn’t have the votes in Denver,” Rummel said. “We need to think outside of the box and let the rest of the country know we are not in lockstep with Denver.”

City Council member Tony Bohrer, who also manages Elkhorn Outfitters in Craig, agreed with Rummel, saying this year’s passage of gun control laws in the state is fueling a boycott of Colorado by out-of-state hunters.

“We’re not going to be affected this year, and we’re large enough that we may never be affected, but the smaller outfitters that don’t have the marketing budget are going to feel the effects (of gun control legislation) three or four years down the road,” Bohrer said. “I’m all for an ordinance, because at the end of the day there’s still going to be 20,000 head of elk at Black Mountain, and this would give me another thing to use to promote Craig.”

Bohrer was the only council member who voiced outright support for Rummel’s proposal. Fellow council member Don Jones, on the other hand, questioned whether the city was prepared for the kind of media attention Rummel was after.

“The state of Colorado is the laughingstock of the country,” Jones said. “We’ve passed an amendment legalizing marijuana that violates federal law and we’ve passed gun laws that violate the Second Amendment. I don’t think passing an ordinance requiring all residents to own an AK-47 is the type of attention Craig wants.”

But Rummel said council needed to step back from the emotional side of the debate.

“This is about more than just guns, this is about protecting our economy,” Rummel said. “This is an opportunity for us to protect and defend our economy, culture and heritage of Northwest Colorado.”

The council did not take action on Rummel’s proposal, but it didn’t completely close the door on the idea, either.

“There is enough support up here of what you are saying, and I think there’s room for you to convince us,” Craig Mayor Terry Carwile said. “The bottom line is we don’t need to make a decision tonight, but you have some work to do.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 970-875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

George Robertson 1 year, 3 months ago

It should be no more difficult to enforce than the gun laws that were recently passed i.e. high capacity magazines. The real challenge of course would be determining "head of household".

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Marilynn Hill 1 year, 3 months ago

All was good in the presentation; entertaining and interesting until it got political! Dr. Rummel, you lost me when you started the political rant on liberals, etc. I own guns, have been around them all my life and I am happy if people want to own guns and with those that don't. Why would you want to put a mandate in place that has no teeth; enforces the idea of 'big brother' and finally why would you want someone to have a gun that just has no interest in either owning one, let alone shooting one?

The economic argument really is mute in the case of hunting and the type of gun you are mandating for two reasons. One because a sportsman does not use a semi or automatic weapon to hunt and because if you look at all the tags available for hunting, all are filled within all the GMUs for elk hunting which supports MOCO being the Elk Hunting Capital of the World; one of the many reasons why the MCTA has chosen not to put advertising dollars into hunting.

Finally not 100% of citizens that you have spoken with support your efforts; they just don't argue back because why put the effort forward to state differently when you are so against having a true open discussion that does not support your point of view. My argument in this matter is supported by your unwillingness to have a resolution instead of an ordinance as suggested by six or the seven council members.

As Mayor Carwile suggested at the end of your presentation, you have a lot of homework to do!

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seven_deadlies 1 year, 3 months ago

Do you remember Morning Star Trading Post? This is the child of the couple who owned that shop; one of two gun stores which supplied Craig with ammunition, repairs, and sales back in the 90's and early 00's.

I just wanted to say I am highly interested in where this will lead, and unlike the previous comment-maker I do enjoy the implication of this law (federal government better not mess with our vitality).

I did use a semi-automatic weapon to hunt. Sometimes my father did too. It was always small game which we wanted to prevent from tunneling in the fields we farmed for alfalfa. In addition this prevented so many ground-holes for the horses to step in and break their legs while I rode locally. For big game we did use a single-load but only because we never owned a semi that carried rounds big enough for elk. I would not object if someone did own a rifle for this purpose because you know what? People miss -- and those animals suffer in the time it takes you to reload.

So... please do talk about it. Feel it out. I do support what I hear so far but would love many more details. While I have moved away from Craig, Co (we enlisted active duty 2003) we do hope to return there when we are done serving our country and it would be great to know our firearms would not be an issue once we return.

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Jason Phillips 1 year, 3 months ago

What an absolutely moronic proposal. So of course I expect it to pass in Craig.

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serena1313 1 year, 3 months ago

Mandating gun ownership is absurd. It is not a solution. Just trying to enforce the mandate alone would be next to, if not, impossible not to mention cost prohibitive.

The city council, of course, could always hire inspectors to knock on every door & insist on seeing the occupant's gun. But that is not a viable solution. Nor is excluding ex-convicts & the mentally ill a viable solution either -- not without background checks. Furthermore the latter would also require hiring one or more qualified doctors to determine a person's mental health should it come into question. Good luck finding a doctor to volunteer his/her services to be on call full-time for free or for a small fee.

The fact is that anyone, regardless of their mental state, criminal history or background, at any time can purchase a weapon at any gun show & no one is the wiser.

There is a viable cost-effective enforceable solution, but that would entail closing the gun show loophole by requiring background checks which presumably the city council along with a number of residents oppose.

Last but not least, Rummel's statement, “This is about more than just guns, this is about protecting our economy ..." is misguided & ill-advised. This is not the wild west. Civilized people do not resolve their differences by shooting each other.

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