Organizers have canceled a gun buyback at the request of Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who said Colorado's new gun laws would make the Aug. 4 event nearly impossible to stage.
"The bottom line is what we anticipated doing would still be legal -- but procedurally we can't follow through with it at this time," Pelle said Tuesday.
A stricter law that went into effect July 1 requires buyers to go to a licensed firearms dealer and undergo a background check. The InstaCheck systems used in the checks are not mobile, which means they couldn't be used at the sheriff's compound where the buyback was planned.
"It's not a portable system," Pelle said. "It can't be done at the site."
Essentially, for the event to work, Pelle said the group would have to find a licensed firearms dealer to host the event and then pay the dealer per transaction, "which becomes very unproductive," he said.
Together Colorado -- a group that bills itself as a nonpartisan multi-faith organization -- had planned the event.
In an e-mail announcing the cancellation, Sheila Dierks said: "Sheriff Pelle has stood strong for this event, has done tremendous work to make it happen and he is as disappointed as we are."
Event organizers had planned to give gift cards or tickets to sporting events to people who turned in firearms. Students raised nearly $8,000 to purchase the incentives.
The idea was to collect guns and then immediately hand them over to the Sheriff's Office for destruction. Some of the remnants of the destroyed firearms would then be passed along to Boulder-area metalworking artist Jessica Adams to use for a sculpture aimed at creating gun violence awareness.
After consulting Deputy County Attorney Dea Wheeler, Pelle had concluded earlier that as long as members of Together Colorado passed required background checks, it would be legal for them to purchase firearms at the August buyback.
While he said he understands organizers may be disappointed, he said the "larger good" is accomplished by the background check requirement. ___