We don't know what's more disturbing: law-abiding citizens who feel the urge to openly carry a gun to a town planning commission meeting or small-town police who stock their armory with automatic weapons from the military.
Both, unfortunately, are Colorado stories — in Castle Rock and Berthoud. Let's deal with Castle Rock first.
The crime rate in Castle Rock is below the average in Colorado, and the nation, too. Way below. So repealing a ban on the open carry of firearms in public buildings and parks, which the town council voted for Tuesday night, is not a response to acute safety concerns. It's an instance of Second Amendment advocates flexing their muscles to make a larger political point.
Now, if Castle Rock's elected leaders don't mind having guns openly carried in parks and public buildings, that's their call. The policy is a local option under state law, and that's fine with us. But we frankly can't understand why a community that is not wracked by violent assaults would want to welcome the open display of guns in parks and public buildings.
We realize the vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens. But what is a gun owner who carries a weapon, say, to a town planning meeting trying to communicate? However innocent the motive behind the decision, the resulting spectacle gives off a slightly menacing air.
Meanwhile, in Larimer County, Sheriff Justin Smith has told Berthoud officials that their police department acquired six fully automatic military weapons and then failed to store them safely.
Smith's department has been assisting the town since October, when the local agency imploded in scandal.
There are two things wrong here. The first of course is the nutty idea of Berthoud cops thinking they needed machine guns. The second, however, could actually be fixed. It's the longstanding practice of the U.S. military providing equipment that is totally inappropriate for civilian agencies to unprepared local departments.