In apparent violation of state and federal law, Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert allowed an under-age server at her restaurant in Rifle to carry a gun.
Boebert, who toppled Congressman Scott Tipton in a Republican primary last month, told a juvenile server to pack heat at her diner, Shooters Grill, just like the adult wait staff do, according to a server currently featured on the restaurant’s website.
“Well, because I’m seventeen, I actually can’t carry it everywhere,” said one of Boebert’s servers in a Barcroft TV interview, shot in 2015, referring to the gun on her hip. “I can carry at work because it’s Lauren’s private property. And she allows me to.”
Trouble is, it’s apparently not legal.
Colorado law bans juveniles from possessing a handgun, and exceptions do not allow gun-carrying as part of a job serving “Ballistic Chicken” and “Smoking Gun” brisket, as featured on the menu.
A similar federal law has an exception for a minor possessing a gun “in the course of employment,” but it’s tough to conclude the exception would reasonably apply in this case. And furthermore, the federal law states specifically that federal exceptions allowing juveniles to possess firearms are legal only if they are “in accordance with State and local law.”
Under Colorado law, if any person knows a juvenile is possessing a gun illegally, as in Boebert’s case, and “fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent such violation,” they commit the crime of “permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.”
It’s not known if Boebert provided her under-age waitress with the handgun, and she didn’t return a call for comment on this article.
But whether Boebert gave her server the gun or not, she’d face a class 4 felony–either for “unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile” or for “permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.”
Gun-safety proponents were dismayed that Boebert would allow a minor to carry a gun in her diner, and it shows she’s unfit for Congress, they said.
“This is not how responsible gun owners behave and not who we want to represent us in Congress,” said Robin Halloran, a volunteer with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action, a group backing gun-safety laws, and a resident of the congressional district Boebert wants to represent. “This is exactly why we are working so hard from today until November to elect gun sense candidates like Diane Mitsch Bush.”
Reached by phone, Tom Mauser, whose son died in the 1999 Columbine school shooting, called it “shameful” for Boebert to allow a minor to carry guns in her restaurant.
“There is something clearly wrong if a minor is allowed to carry a gun in a restaurant,” Mauser told the Colorado Times Recorder. “And how shameful that their boss is running for Congress.”
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Boebert’s hard-line stance on guns, including her policy of arming waitresses at her restaurant, has drawn wide media coverage, particularly among right-wing outlets both locally and nationally.
Boebert’s appearances on conservative media platforms have been credited, in part, for her victory over Tipton.
She advocates far-right stances on a range of issues beyond guns, including mask-wearing (strictly optional), climate change (a narrative that allows the government to make money), abortion (Ban it.), Obamacare (Repeal it.), immigration (against immigrant farm labor), QAnon (hopes it’s real but later said she’s not a follower), and Black Lives Matter (BLM protesters in Rifle were “paid and bussed in.”)
Trump allegedly said of Boebert, “You know, with her winning, I think it’s safe to say we just won Colorado.”
Tipton, Boebert’s vanquished Republican primary opponent, was a hard-right Republican and co-chair of the Colorado Trump campaign, but he didn’t criticize Boebert during the campaign.
During the primary campaign, in a KHOW radio appearance (here at 12:30), Republican Dick Wadhams asked Tipton about Boebert, who now faces Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush.
“I have always invoked Reagan’s eleventh commandment, that it isn’t useful to attack other Republicans, simply because the philosophical differences that we are going to have with our Democrat counterparts certainly ought to outweigh that,” Tipton replied. “We try to be able to stay focused on the work that we are doing.”
CLARIFICATION: This post was updated to clarify that federal law federal exceptions allowing juveniles to possess firearms are only legal if they are “in accordance with State and local law.”