Littleton, CO aims to shut down firearms sales

Littleton, Colorado’s Mayor Valdes and its City Council passed a “Firearms Retailer Regulations” ordinance on February 2nd in a quiet meeting with little input from the public. The legislation will put Littleton on the map as one of the most anti 2A cities in Colorado.

The ordinance doesn’t take effect until August, but it passed unanimously, meaning that public outcries and letters to the Mayor probably won’t change the course of Littleton’s anti gun path.

Gun shops will be required under the new legislation to obtain a special license that can only be given to retailers once they create expensive and cumbersome storage plans for firearms, and the plans are approved at the sole discretion of the Littleton Police Department.

According to Rally for Our Rights, “it creates such expensive and burdensome requirements on the retailers they will be forced to either increase the price of their inventory to such a degree only the wealthy can afford it and making self defense out of reach for lower income people, such as, I don’t know…many single mothers whose most important responsibility is the protection of her children alone. Or the retailers will be forced to move out of the city opening the door to the black markets that always fill these voids.”

Rally for Our Rights also makes the interesting argument that locking firearms in a centralized location makes theft more easy. The 2019 Stem shooter broke into a gun safe at his home in order to steal the weapons he needed to commit the shooting, lending credence to the idea that those who want guns, will find them, especially when they’re all locked in a designated location.

In all actuality, the ordinance does nothing for gun safety; critics argue that Littleton doesn’t have a robbery problem, nor does any other shop in Colorado. On the contrary, the legislation is a simple assault on the industry as a whole.

In 2018, Justin Vigil and an accomplice smashed the windows at Murdoch’s of Littleton and stole 13 assault rifles. As per the Denver Post, “in 2019 there were 135 firearms stolen in nine separate burglaries in Colorado, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives statistics. In 2018, there were 64 firearms stolen in eight separate burglaries; and in 2017, there were 427 firearms stolen in 28 separate burglaries.”

Littleton has assembled a lengthy tip sheet aimed at assisting business owners put together a plan to obtain the expensive licenses they now need in order to stay in business. Critics estimate that implementing such plans will cost individual retailers, depending on size, anywhere from $10k to $100k or more once the massive gun safes, employer training, and long list of stipulations are met.

From Rally for Our Rights:

“In order to get this license the retailer will need to:

• Develop a plan that addresses the safe storage of firearms during retail hours, after closing, and any off-site storage areas where firearm inventory is maintained.  This must include all of the following:

– Securely storing firearms during retail hours, after closing, and in any off-site storage areas in accordance with their new storage requirements set forth in the new Littleton City Code. During non-business hours all firearms must be stored in a locked safe, locked steel gun cabinet, or secured safe room;
– Alarm systems and theft deterrence systems;
– Business practices addressing access to firearms during retail hours;
– Procedures for removing/replacing firearms to show to customers;
– Loss or theft reporting;
– Description of anti-theft measures and practices;
– Disaster plan;
– Structural Security; e.g. physical hardening of the premises which includes but not but not limited to bollards, break resistance windowing, secured bars across windows, locking metal reinforced doors, and reinforced walls;
– Inventory Security;
– Employee Screening; and,
– Employee training and education about licensee’s policy and procedures and loss prevention measures, if applicable.

• Safe Storage Plans must be submitted to the Littleton Police Department for approval on an annual basis. LPD can reject any submitted plans, documenting inadequacies, and if those inadequacies are not addressed and a new plan submitted for approval within 60 days, or if the same plan is submitted, the license will be revoked.

• Retail location must ensure the following practices are implemented within their plans:

– Store all firearms in inventory in a safe, vault, or safe room and in such a manner as to prevent theft or loss.
– Keep all safes, vaults, displays, other equipment, or areas used for the storage of firearms in inventory securely locked or protected from entry, except for the actual time required to remove, replace or show for sale or transfer the firearm(s) in inventory. Trigger locks or similar devices cannot be removed until sale or transfer is completed.
– Keep all locks and security equipment in good working order;
– Prohibit keys from being left in locks and do not store or place keys in a location accessible to persons other than specifically authorized personnel;
– Prohibit other security measures, such as combination numbers, keys, codes, passwords or electronic or biometric security systems, from being accessible to persons other than specifically authorized personnel;
– Keep the retail location securely locked and protected from unauthorized entry at all times when closed for business or unoccupied by authorized personnel;
– Ensure inventory records are protected by securing the records after business hours in a location separate from the firearms inventory and only permit authorized personnel or law enforcement to view or handle the inventory records;
– Complete a firearms inventory on a regular basis, no less than once annually. Inventories must be conducted by at least two persons, unless owner operated.
– Keep timely and accurate “acquisition and disposition” records. These records must be made available to law enforcement entities upon request;
– Maintain a disaster plan that adequately ensures the timely securing of firearms in inventory in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The plan must be made available to law enforcement upon request; and,
– Ensure employees with access to firearms in inventory or who otherwise handle firearms in inventory are not prohibited from possessing firearms under State or Federal law.

• If a retail location presents special security issues, such as exposed handling or unusual vulnerability to diversion, theft or loss, LPD may require additional safeguards.

• If a loss, theft or diversion of firearms in inventory has occurred from a retail location, the certified licensee must notify the ATF and law enforcement within 24 hours after the loss or theft is discovered. If any firearms previously reported as lost or stolen are subsequently recovered by the licensee, the licensee must notify the ATF and law enforcement of the recovery.

• Any licensee whose certification is revoked or not renewed must dispose of its entire inventory under conditions approved by the ATF and provide notice to LPD of plan to transfer or otherwise dispose of inventory.

• Retail locations operating in a space that is 5,000 square feet or greater, or maintaining more than 100 firearms in inventory, must provide current copies of floor plans to LPD upon request.

• Retailers must not prohibit members of LPD or other federal, state or local government officials from entering any area of a location if necessary to perform their governmental duties.”

Littleton passed the ordinance without much attention from the public because the public is not engaged in city council meetings this season; with national politics and COVID-19 taking center stage, smaller cities and towns have a lot of leeway to pass legislation without public input. Critics contend that the expenses of implementing the plan will be passed onto consumers, allowing only the wealthiest gun owners in the area to purchase firearms. Others believe that Littleton firearms dealers may eventually go out of business, unable to meet the physical and monetary demands of a city government intent on shutting them down.