GOP calls for Pride flag burning, Colorado hate groups identified, New concealed-carry law signed

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    06_06_24_am_headlines Philip Armour

King Soopers murder trial venue change request

Attorneys representing the man accused of murdering ten people in a Boulder King Soopers three years ago are asking for a venue change in the defendant’s trial.

At a motion hearing at the Boulder County Justice Center Tuesday, defense lawyers said their client cannot get a fair trial in Boulder County because of what they called “massive, pervasive, and prejudicial publicity” in the case, according to the Denver Gazette.

The defendant has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, meaning that he did not understand the difference between right and wrong at the time of killings. According to published reports, he used a firearm with a high-capacity magazine and killed most of his victims in just over one minute.

The victims included King Soopers employees and shoppers, as well as Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. There were no non-fatal shooting victims. The defendant is facing ten counts of first degree murder, along with numerous counts of attempted murder, and weapons-related charges.

At present, jury selection is scheduled to begin on August 26th.

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GOP calls for Pride flag burning

The Colorado Republican Party has issued a call for the burning of all Pride flags in the state.

In a mass email from the state GOP earlier this week, the party said that “God hates Pride,” and that with the arrival of June, “Godless groomers in our society want to attack what is decent, holy, and righteous so they can ultimately harm our children.” 

The message was signed by Dave Williams, the state Republican Party’s chair, according to 9News. However, Colorado Politics is reporting that some Republicans are reacting with outrage to the call to burn Pride flags. Valdamar Archuleta, president of the LGBTQ advocacy group Colorado Log Cabin Republicans, said he will not accept the party’s formal endorsement as the Republican nominee in the state’s 1st Congressional District. He said that as an openly gay man, he considers the state party’s anti-LGBTQ message “disgusting and offensive.”

But he also said he still plans to support Republican candidates “from the top of the ticket down.”

Meanwhile, the chair of the Colorado Democratic Party condemned the Republican idea of burning Pride flags, saying it clearly illustrates the differences between the two parties.

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Colorado hate groups 

An annual report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, released Tuesday, listed 13 hate groups and 17 anti-government groups in Colorado. These include neo-Nazis, white nationalists, sovereign citizen organizations, anti-LGBTQ groups, and general conspiracy propagandists, according to The Denver Post. These groups were identified over the course of last year. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, list includes Moms for Liberty, which has chapters in Boulder, Garfield, Mesa, and Weld counties.

Moms for Liberty is disputing the hate group designation. Its founders said in a statement that the group is, in their words, “committed to ensuring that parents around the country have the protection of their fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their child.”

Other groups in Colorado, named hate groups by the SPLC, include the American Freedom Network, the Family Research Institute, Mass Resistance, the Proud Boys, and the Patriot Front. The SPLC urges people to take the information in their new report to advance their own rights, and protect democracy.

In its report, the SPLC says that one of the foundations for hate in America is male supremacy, as well as Christian supremacy and dominion theology. It says these elements could push the United States toward authoritarian government.

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Primary ballots mailed

Primary ballots are beginning to show up in Coloradans’ mail boxes, with the state’s primary elections less than three weeks away.

Mail-in ballots went out Monday to all registered Colorado voters. Colorado residents are automatically registered when they get a driver’s license or register for other state services. Registration can also be done online by visiting Coloradosos.gov, and clicking on “register to vote.”

Ballots must be returned by 7pm on Election Day, which is June 25th. They can be returned to dropboxes, to in-person voting centers, or mailed back to county clerks. Ballots returned by mail should be sent no later than Monday, June 17th.

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Read about online voter registration

Concealed-carry law signed

Coloradans will soon need eight hours of in-person training from a qualified instructor before they can get a concealed-carry gun permit. That’s under a new law signed Tuesday by Governor Jared Polis. It goes into effect on July 1st, 2025.

The new law requires passing a live-firing exercise and a written exam. Newly-issued concealed-carry permits last for five years. For renewal, people will need two hours of in-person training, plus another live-firing test and written exam.

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Colorado racism study 

Senate Bill 53, creating the new Commission, gives Colorado until June 30, 2025, to raise at least $785,000 for the study. If they fall short of that goal, donations will be returned and the study won’t happen, according to the Denver Post. 

State Senator James Coleman, who sponsored the bill, said that studying the legacy of historic racism, and the structural inequities that resulted from it, are “the first step toward addressing it.” He added that it will lead to a deeper understanding of the impacts of past and current racial discrimination.

Supporters of the study say that a deeper understanding is necessary, because of ongoing disparities impacting the Black community – including disproportionately higher rates of incarceration, and lower rates of home ownership compared to white Coloradans.

Donations are being collected at chicdenver.org. Backers hope to reach their milestone before the June 2025 deadline so the work can begin.

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Folsom Field fireworks canceled

There will be no Fourth of July fireworks at Folsom Field in Boulder this year.

The city said in a press release that their partnership with WK Real Estate has come to an end, forcing them to cancel the annual show. WK Real Estate has been the main sponsor of Ralphie’s Independence Day Blast for the last twenty-four years.

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First ninety-degree day

The Metro Denver area has seen this year’s first ninety-plus-degrees day. In Boulder, temperatures yesterday topped out at 89 degrees, though it reached ninety in Louisville, and 91 in Denver.

The hot days are a little early this year: Denver7 says that on average, we see the first ninety-degree day on June 10th.

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