Gun owners now will be able to openly carry firearms in El Paso County parks.
The Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed parks rule changes Tuesday during its regular meeing that include tweaking the regulation that had banned open carry. The 4-0 vote came in the absence of Chairman Dennis Hisey, who left the regular meeting shortly after noon.
Hisey said moments before exiting that he was also in favor of the change to the gun rule and was confident that if he had stayed the vote would have remained unanimous. While the rule change allows open carry, it forbids the discharge of guns, fireworks or explosive device in a county park.
Each of the commissioners mentioned their oath to uphold the United States Constitution and the 2nd Amendment, which gives citizens the right to bear arms. Multiple board members also said they did not want to incriminate law-abiding citizens who simply want to defend themselves.
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Concealed carry in parks with a CCW permit has always been legal, but Colorado’s State preclusion law allows local jurisdictions to outlaw open carry, and county commissioners have authority by state statute to ban shooting in parks. The shooting ban will defer to lawful self defense shooting, as do all laws against shooting in a particular place so long as the person acting in self defense acted reasonably and proportional to the threat.
Question to gun owner by citizen in the Park: “Why do you need to carry that gun?”
Gun owner’s answer: “Ma’am, I sincerely hope that I don’t need it. But if I do need it I sincerely hope I have it with me.”