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Longmont Mistakenly Publishes Unedited ‘Firearms Awareness and Safety Day’ Proclamation

September 9, 2018
Longmont Mistakenly Publishes Unedited 'Firearms Awareness and Safety Day' Proclamation

Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley said an incorrect version of a Firearms Safety and Awareness Day proclamation was mistakenly posted online with the agenda for Tuesday's city council meeting. The proclamation is cosponsored by Rod Brandenburg, who owns Grandpa's Pawn and Gun in Longmont.

Longmont’s city staff last week posted an incorrect version of a “Firearms Awareness and Safety Day” proclamation that its mayor plans to read Tuesday night, he said Sunday.

The version of the proclamation the city posted as an attachment to the agenda item for Tuesday night’s council meeting “is not the document I approved,” Mayor Brian Bagley said.

Bagley said the proclamation he intends to issue emphasizes the need for responsible gun ownership and the safe storage and use of firearms, a proclamation Bagley said he did not want to stir up renewed arguments between gun control activists and gun ownership rights advocates.

The mayor contacted the Times-Call on Sunday to say the proclamation he okayed was a version of one submitted to him by Second Amendment gun-rights advocates that he edited to remove what he said was potentially “inflammatory” wording.

Bagley said he, as Longmont’s mayor, has the final say on any proclamation he reads at council meetings. He said he thought the original version presented to him “would cause too much potential drama” in the midst of ongoing local and national debates over gun ownership and gun control.

The proclamation the city posted online last week — one that Bagley said did not contain his revisions — still contained some of the original language the mayor said was submitted by Longmont resident Jerry Britton, with co-sponsors identified by Britton as Rod Brandenburg, owner of Grandpa’s Pawn & Gun shop in Longmont, and Rally for Our Rights, a Second Amendment advocacy organization.

The proclamation the city staff posted stated that one reason for issuing it was “to make individuals aware that pistols, sporting rifles and shotguns (firearms) are considered inanimate tools, and that as stated in the Second Amendment, each American Citizen has the right to keep or bear firearms ...”

According to a copy of Bagley’s edited proclamation language the city staff provided to the Times-Call on Sunday, the mayor shortened that submitted paragraph to state that “the Second Amendment states that each American Citizen has the right to keep or bear firearms ...”

The unedited proclamation also called for designating Sept. 17 as Firearms Awareness and Safety Day in Longmont and urged Longmont residents to “wear Green” to show they support the proclamation’s statement that “we recognize the importance of firearm ownership responsibility and safety in our daily lives” on that day.

Britton had said in a Friday interview that he chose that color because of its contrast to the “Wear Orange” day that Moms Demand Action — an anti-gun-violence organization whose local chapter got Bagley to proclaim June 2 as “Gun Violence Awareness Day” during a May City Council meeting.

However, the edited version Bagley said he’d approved takes out any call for people to wear green Sept. 17.

Britton said Sunday he had no objections to Bagley’s changes as they were related to him during a telephone interview. He said the mayor’s revised version appeared to be the best he could hope for.

Assistant City Manager Sandi Seader wrote City Council members in a Sunday morning email that she’d confirmed that the version of the proclamation distributed to the council and publicly posted online with the rest of Tuesday’s agenda last week was not the version Bagley had approved.

“I am not sure what happened, but will work with the staff to ensure that it does not happen again,” Seader said. “I recognize that the uploaded proclamation is not the desired wording by the mayor, and will likely result in public attending the meeting who have the wrong information and will likely be frustrated by this.”

Deputy City Clerk Dawn Quintana said in a separate email to council members that the corrected version of the proclamation was posted on Sunday afternoon to tinyurl.com/ycccconc , the website for Tuesday’s agenda.

Bagley said he’d received “a lot of calls” about the proposed proclamation after a Times-Call story about the wording the city had originally posted .

“It was an unintentional mistake” on the city staff’s part, the mayor said. But he added that “it sure does hurt” his effort to come up with a less controversial proclamation.

John Fryar: 303-684-5211, jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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