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Commissioners clamp on shooting bans in parts of the county

Concerns over resident safety
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Western Boulder County File photo


While the Boulder County Commissioners are banning shooting in certain forested communities in the county, an effort to secure a regulated shooting range for gun enthusiasts has largely stalled.

The Boulder Rifle Club is attempting to raise at least $3 million to build a public shooting range in the county. The private club — located at 4810 26th St. in Boulder — has received $1.3 million from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and $1 million from the county for the range, Garry Sanfacon, project coordinator with Boulder County. 

Once built, the shooting range would include 25-, 50-, 100-meter lanes for public target shooting, Sanfacon said. But more funding is needed to fully expand the shooting range.

“We are waiting for someone else to bring something to the table,” Sanfacon said.

Boulder County is part of the Northern Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership, a consortium of local governments and federal agencies trying to develop areas for public shooting ranges. That includes building a public shooting range that would allow closing off 80,000 acres of public land in western Boulder County to shooting, Sanfacon said.

The commissioners cited their efforts toward helping the shooting group during a four-hour long public hearing Tuesday. The hearing ended with the commissioners banning shooting in the Magnolia and Raymond/Riverside communities and expanding an existing closure in the Sugarloaf community. The commissioners originally clamped the no-firearm discharge rule in Sugarloaf in 1980.

The commissioners made exceptions for lawful and licensed hunting in the Magnolia and Raymond/Riverside communities while prohibiting all firearms discharges in the expanded Sugarloaf area, according to a Boulder County news release.

The commissioners said residents in the affected communities have long been asking for a shooting ban, citing worries over public safety.

“I just regret that it has taken so long for us to have this hearing,” Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy said.

Raymond resident Leah Burke said he hears gunshots during all hours nearly every single day even from behind closed windows and closed doors. “These are not shots … that can be easily ignored,” Burke said.

Residents showed photos of trees ripped up and destroyed by gunshots and warned that the gunplay will lead to more dangerous wildfires and to someone’s death.

Commissioner Matt Jones agreed the bans are necessary. 

“The situation in the mountains is very bad and someone is going to be wounded or killed, and additional wildfires will start.” Jones said in the news release.

“We’ve used the powers available to us to address these critical safety concerns while we work with our partners on a more complete solution, which removes sport shooting from all US Forest Service public areas of Boulder County,” Jones said.

County staff presented maps and boundary recommendations of potential closure areas to the commissioners at Tuesday's public hearing. These presentations included an overview from the County Attorney’s Office detailing the statutory authority for the Board to designate each area where the discharge of firearms is prohibited. Representatives from Boulder County Community Planning and Permitting, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and the U.S. Forest Service also presented their views to the commissioners, according to the news release.