Colorado’s largest gun rights group is threatening to sue a small-town public library for asking a woman to leave for violating its ban on firearms.
Erika Sattler, who has a concealed carry permit for her handgun, said she was asked to leave the Clearview Library in Windsor when another library patron apparently spotted the weapon and complained to a library staff member.
The library has a policy prohibiting weapons of any kind except those carried by law enforcement.
A bedroom community for several larger Northern Colorado cities, Windsor is also the headquarters for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the gun-rights lobby that was instrumental in recalling two state senators last year who voted for the state’s controversial new gun control laws.
The group cited state law that allows guns to be carried practically anywhere, including in libraries. It demanded that the library change its policy or it would file a lawsuit as soon as Friday.
“I would like to continue to use this library and I would like to be able to protect my children in this library,” Sattler said during a board meeting Thursday.
RMGO members attended the meeting, but several other patrons spoke out in support of the ban. The board said it would take the matter under advisement, but made no immediate change to the policy.
That could land it in court, according to a legal notice sent by RMGO prior to the meeting.
“There is no doubt about the law in this case,” wrote attorney James Bardwell. “It has been in place for over 10 years. I was very surprised to hear the library district is still pursuing a policy which much larger government entities have long since abandoned.”
Bardwell wrote that RMGO would encourage gun owners to continue carrying firearms at the library and he also encouraged the board to change its policy to avoid litigation which would be a “waste of resources of the library district.”
“We firmly believe that library patrons exercising their inalienable right to protect themselves is not disruptive to the library environment nor is it incompatible with a library,” he wrote. “A library should be a place where all freedom is recognized and supported, not just a place for freedom of speech.”
Also this week, voters in Castle Rock overturned a city ban on firearms carried on city property, including parks and libraries. The Associated Press reported that a special election had the highest turnout in the city’s history, but the measure to overturn the restrictions passed by only 151 votes.
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