The day after Boulder enacted its anti-gun law in May banning “assault” rifles, large-capacity magazines and “bump stocks,” Jon Caldera joined with the Boulder (Colorado) Rifle Club, a member of the University of Colorado Shooting Team, and others to file suit against it.
The suit claimed the law violated numerous federal, state, and local laws, and for that Caldera and his school-age daughter are taking heat. Caldera said his daughter has been bullied at her school, “[You know,] the one with posters celebrating tolerance and diversity all over its walls.” Both teachers and students have “ganged up on her,” telling her that “her father is a murderer.”
I have a fifteen-year old daughter who’s already been bullied about this at school. She’s been yelled at; she’s been called a murderer.
My son has Down syndrome so he doesn’t understand this, but my daughter doesn’t want me to go to jail.
I’m concerned about the people I love being taunted because we’re a political minority.
The suit’s language was clear as well as combative:
On May 15, 2018, the Boulder City Council voted 9–0 to approve Ordinance 8245, banning some of the most popular firearms and magazines in use by law-abiding citizens across the United States. In addition, Ordinance 8245 raised the age for legal firearm purchase and possession from eighteen to twenty-one years of age. Upon passage, Ordinance 8245 immediately became law in the City of Boulder, thereby infringing upon the rights of all of Boulder’s 108,707 residents.
Ordinance 8245 and the actions of Defendants violate multiple provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including Article VI, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment.
Ordinance 8245 and the actions of Defendants violate multiple provisions of the Colorado State Constitution, including Article 2, section 3 and Article 2, section 13.
Ordinance 8245 and the actions of Defendants violate multiple Colorado State Statutes, including C.R.S. §§ 29-11.7-102 and 29-11.7-103.
The suit went on to say that the plaintiffs were going to continue exercising their rights while the matter is being adjudicated:
Plaintiffs intend and desire to continue to acquire, possess, use, sell, and/or transfer the lawfully-owned, constitutionally-protected firearms and magazines that are banned by Ordinance 8245, but justifiably fear punishment if they do.
As The New American pointed out last month in its coverage of the matter, the law is unenforceable:
If national averages of gun ownership are applied to the citizens of Boulder, then there are one or more firearms per citizen, most of them owned before the ban. Roughly speaking, that means there are approximately 150,000 firearms that need to be “certified” [under the law’s grandfather clause] by December 27.
As of December 1, the Boulder Police Department had certified 85 of them.
As of January 3, that number has jumped to 87.
In his letter of defiance that was published by the Denver Post after the law was enacted, Caldera, head of the Denver-based Independence Institute and a resident of Boulder, wrote: “My home town of Boulder is about to define me as a criminal if I do not disarm or move. Let this column serve as a public notice: I will not comply.”
So far Caldera has not received notice that he is out of compliance for owning a firearm that now falls inside the new Boulder law. But that has not kept the fiery activist from expressing his contempt for the people who enacted it:
I've lived in Boulder since 1984, believe it or not. I have roots there. I was a columnist for the paper, I represented them in elected office on the RTD board, I started a business there, and my late daughter’s body lies in a cemetery there. I've got a plot next to her for when my time comes. Boulder's my home.
[The ordinance] goes against everything Boulder claims to stand for. This is an attack on a political minority that the Boulder elite finds dirty, ignorant and dangerous. The message is pretty clear: 'We don't want your type in our lily-white, elitist town, so we will bully you out. We will separate you. We will force you to self-identify. You have to pay to go to the police and get a permission slip and be on a watch list just because of who you are and what we believe.' That's hateful, and it's bigotry.
Caldera couldn’t resist the temptation to contrast how he’s being treated as a gun owner with how he would be welcomed by Boulder if he were a Muslim:
This is about civil rights. If a group of people with what some people think of as a very dangerous belief structure came into town wearing hijabs, Boulder would bend over backwards to welcome them and make them feel safe. Not so for people with a belief structure like mine….
[Muslims] would never be subjected to such restrictions. [They] would never be forced to self-identify to government authorities, to submit to inspection, to be registered and made to pay fees to keep your core beliefs. My strong belief in my Second Amendment rights is core to who I am.
Which is why Caldera and his family are being subjected to bullying, shouting, and threats: He no longer fits into the culture of a city that is now being run by tyrants and elitists who consider the Second Amendment and the Colorado Constitution’s protection of precious rights as a threat to their worldview.
That worldview, distinct from the real world, was expressed by one of the members of the Boulder city council, Sam Weaver. Weaver claims to be a gun owner but supported the law because he was against “weapons that are intended to kill people efficiently.” He goes on to say that shootings like the one in 2016 at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub are “particularly insidious for people who inhabit public spaces but [who] don’t carry weapons themselves.”
Translation: Weaver thinks it’s better to disarm law-abiding gun owners rather than encourage those who are defenseless to take up arms to protect themselves.
Caldera really no longer fits in the city he calls home. But rather than move he is taking the fight to Boulder’s anti-gun politicians like Weaver, and taking the heat that goes along with it.