Residents who attended the Longmont City Council open forum on Tuesday night spoke about their right to bear arms and their hopes that waterfront habitat along the St. Vrain River would be preserved amid planned developments.
The Council’s semi-annual open forums give residents the opportunity to address leaders on any topic they choose, as long as they don’t speak for more than five minutes.
And, about five minutes before Tuesday’s forum began, 18 members of the public had already registered to address the Council with their comments and concerns.
One such speaker was Jamie Simo of the Longmont Citizens’ Group Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek, who advocated for the preservation of wildlife habitat, especially that of swallows, and the riparian zone surrounding the creek.
“You will be presented shortly, probably next week, with a bond measure to pay for construction off Hover Reach on the St. Vrain,” Simo said. “If this bonding measure goes to voters for approval, we want written assurances that our tax dollars will not go to a project that will destroy this special habitat.”
In addition to advocating for the preservation of wildlife habitat along the St. Vrain River, it wasn’t long before the issue of firearms came up with some speakers arguing against local gun restrictions. fire.
Marianne Niehaus, who has resided in Longmont for 37 years, said she often carried a concealed weapon and was worried about any law that would prohibit her and others from doing so.
“I feel safer because I carry a gun,” Niehaus said. “When you have that training and that understanding, as a mother and a grandmother, I know I can protect my children.”
Mayor Joan Peck encouraged people who wanted more gun safety measures in schools to bring their concerns to the school board rather than city council.
“The City Council and the Town of Longmont are not trying to take your guns away from you,” Peck said in response to a commenter. “I want that to be very clear.”
Immediately before Tuesday’s open forum, the city council held an executive session to “discuss possible gun safety ordinances,” according to the meeting’s pre-released agenda.
The executive session is closed to the public.
While Council members made no comment during Tuesday’s public portion of the meeting about their conversation in executive session, Councilwoman Marcia Martin said in a separate interview Tuesday that she was more in favor of enacting gun laws, now, than it was when City Council originally discussed the topic during a pre-session on June 14.
At the time, Martin did not think a citywide ordinance regulating firearms would have an impact given that several other cities and counties, especially those east of Longmont, would not consider probably never similar legislation.
However, after the United States Supreme Court struck down a New York state law that imposed restrictions on the carrying of a concealed handgun in public and following the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, which left seven people dead and many more. injured, Martin said she was “crazy”.
“I’m probably going to vote for all of the restrictions except everything about concealed carry because … the city can’t afford litigation,” Martin said. “I’ve come closer in my opinions to Moms Demand Action. My feeling is that at this point it is necessary to send a message that gun culture is not welcome here.