http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_3288393 Article Launched: 12/08/2005 01:00:00 AM denver & the west Court weighs city's ability to write gun laws Uniformity is needed, the state tells the justices, but Denver says it should be able to pass its own laws as its crime rate is higher. By Howard Pankratz Denver Post Staff Writer The city of Denver told the Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday that it wants to protect its citizens by being able to write its own gun laws. But the state of Colorado said the laws should be written by the state legislature to provide gun-legislation consistency and to avoid a hodgepodge of regulations written by home-rule cities such as Denver. The arguments were heard by the justices and about 600 students at Arapahoe High School. The justices are expected to rule within the next two months. At issue was a November 2004 ruling by Denver District Judge Joseph Meyer III that allows Denver to regulate assault weapons, "Saturday night specials" and the open carrying of guns despite the state of Colorado's claim that legislation passed in 2003 stripped the city of that power. Meyer concluded that while the state has an interest in the regulation of firearms to protect the constitutional right of a person to keep and bear arms, that right is not absolute. He said home-rule cities such as Denver may enact gun regulations if such regulations are a reasonable exercise of the government's police power. Meyer's ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court. During the arguments, Colorado Solicitor General Allison Eid, representing the state, and Denver Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell went at it. Broadwell argued that for years, Denver has regulated firearms. He said home-rule cities should be able to implement their own regulations because of the unique characteristics of each. In Denver, for instance, strict gun laws were implemented because the city suffers rates of violent crime above state averages. "In an urban environment, different regulations apply," Broadwell said. The argument is about whether a person can walk around downtown Denver with a loaded firearm, he said. Denver has ripped the state legislature, saying that in 2003, it passed far- reaching laws that gutted local firearms regulations by declaring gun laws to be a matter of "statewide concern." By using that phrase, the legislature trumped the ability of cities such as Denver to pass their own gun ordinances. But Eid said it is imperative that there be uniformity of gun laws in the state. Eid argued that with a wide array of gun laws, citizens don't know their rights when traveling in Colorado. In one city, their actions may be lawful; in another, unlawful. Eid told the justices the case is similar to the one where the legislature imposed statewide uniformity in the use of photo-radar systems over the objections of four home-rule cities. "In photo radar, we weren't dealing with a constitutional right. In this case, we are," she said.