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Beginning Feb. 27, anyone who has a handgun or assault rifle or any other legally purchased firearm may carry it in their hands, or holstered, to Castle Rock Town Council meetings and other town commission and advisory board meetings, administrative offices, various parks and other town-owned properties.
After hours of public testimony pro and con Jan. 28, the town council voted 4-3 to repeal the town's ban that currently prohibits the open carrying of firearms into some town-owned buildings and parks.
The three who voted against the repeal wanted the issue given to the town's voters to decide.
The other four, including Mayor Paul Donahue, managing partner of the Centennial Gun Club who brought up the issue in June, said he did listen to the public's concerns, but still maintained it was a constitutional issue, and voted for the repeal.
"For me it's not a hard issue... I have to look (at) every decision I make through the filter of the Constitution," he said.
Councilmembers Jennifer Green, Renee Valentine and Joe Procopio also voted for the repeal.
Councilmembers Mark Heath, Chip Wilson and Clark Hammelman voted against the repeal.
Thirty days after the vote, the repeal takes effect. During those 30 days, the town manager, Mark Stevens, will be in consultation with others to determine if town employees should also be able to openly carry firearms, he told council.
Stevens in a past report recommended amending or repealing the current ordinance in order to change wording that had him, the town manager, determine which town-properties should prohibit open carry - an authority he didn't want.
But in that report he also recommended that if the ban were repealed that the council should direct staff to prepare a new ordinance that would "at a minimum" prohibit open carry in buildings where employees work, meetings are held and the public does business.
The Jan. 28 vote didn't do that. It repeals the ban in all town buildings and facilities and will go into effect unless residents were to undertake a successful petition effort to have the issue put on the ballot in a special election.
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