Castle Rock apartment's controversial policy banning firearms is thrown out

9:12 PM, Aug 7, 2013   |    comments
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An employee even closed the door on 9Wants to Know reporter Will Ripley as he asked why tenants were being told they can't have firearms.

CASTLE ROCK - A controversial gun policy at an apartment complex for seniors has been thrown out after a 9Wants to Know report.

The Douglas County Housing Partnership, a multi-jurisdictional housing authority, held an emergency board of directors meeting late Wednesday afternoon.

Board members decided that the policy, which would have prohibited residents from having firearms in their homes, will not go into effect.

The Douglas County Housing partnership owns Oakwood Apartments in Castle Rock. It was purchased with federal funds and is supported by local, state, and federal tax dollars.

"These community policy changes were distributed without the knowledge or authorization of the Board of Directors of the Douglas County Housing Partnership or its staff," a Douglas County Housing Partnership release said. "This board does not support any action that infringes on an individual's rights and will not allow Ross Management to implement these changes. The mission of the Douglas County Housing partnership is to preserve and develop safe, secure, quality housing while providing housing choices for those who have few,"

After 9Wants to Know reported on the policy Tuesday night, Douglas County commissioners began calling for quick action by the housing authority.

READ: Castle Rock apartment tenants told they must get rid of their guns

Douglas County Director of Public Affairs Wendy Holmes said commissioners were "alarmed" to learn of the policy and pushed the housing authority for "an acceptable and expeditious resolution."

"The Board of Douglas County Commissioners is pleased that the Housing Authority concurred with the Commissioner's position that the policy changes from Ross Management should not move forward. We thank them for a quick and proper conclusion," Holmes said in a statement.

When retired US Marine Art Dorsch got a notice from Oakwood management, he felt like the freedom he fought for was being taken away.

"It upset me very much," Dorsch said. "Because I don't think it's fair."

The notice was informing residents of an updated policy, banning all firearms and weapons from the property effective October 1.

There is no gun language in the lease Dorsch signed earlier this year.

"They want to take them all away from me. They say I can't live here," Dorsch said.

The Ross Management Group, based in Wheat Ridge, implemented the policy change.

Managers refused to comment. An employee even closed the door on 9Wants to Know reporter Will Ripley as he asked why tenants were being told they can't have firearms.


The Denver Housing Authority wants to know if Ross Management Group is trying to pull similar rogue gun bans in the city.

The company manages properties in Aurora, Arvada, Denver and Greeley.

"It's unconstitutional to prohibit the legal possession of a gun or a firearm on public housing property," a DHA spokesperson said.

The company wouldn't talk about the gun ban via phone or in person. So it's not clear the motivation behind the company's decision.

The company's owner, Debi Ross, and her husband have given $9,000, only to Democrats, since 2006.

Public housing gun bans have been challenged in a number of states. In several cases, outright gun bans have been more narrowly tailored to common areas, after a lawsuit was filed.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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