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Shannon Callahan: Election: Press commissioner candidates about Rifle Club

As Boulder County Commissioner candidates are courting votes, residents might consider that the current commissioners voted in January to give the Boulder Rifle Club $1 million to drastically increase recreational shooting in north Boulder.

The expansion would multiply capacity to 700 new shooters a week (BRC’s estimate) and include ranges to accommodate assault weapons and long-range sniper rifles. This allocation was done less than one year after the King Soopers tragedy and in the context of historic gun violence.

This spending was justified by entirely speculative and wishful thinking: If the Rifle Club is expanded, shooters will pay to shoot there instead of for free in the National Forest (the U.S. Forest Service will not close the forest to open shooting unless an alternative shooting place is established but apparently won’t use their own land to do so).

There is zero evidence that expanding the Rifle Club will draw people out of the foothills. But it does seem extremely likely that a larger, more specialized gun club will draw many more armed people to Boulder from elsewhere in the Front Range.

Other communities in Boulder County have quashed shooting ranges in their areas due to environmental, neighborhood tranquility and safety concerns. The Boulder Rifle Club is across from Gateway Fun Center and surrounded by recreational open space — in the Area III growth planning reserve for Boulder City, which has been championed for affordable housing.

Massive excavations required will disturb landfill — that almost certainly contains environmental toxins — upstream from ponds and waterways in Boulder Open Space.

Using our tax dollars to fund a private business that filed a lawsuit against the city’s assault weapons ban is frankly appalling. Voters may want to ask for commissioner candidates’ commitment to reverse this funding and work toward fewer guns in Boulder, not more.

Shannon Callahan

Boulder

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