Colorado Springs Panhandling Ban Blocked By Judge

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A judge has blocked the enforcement of Colorado Springs' new panhandling ban.

A U.S. District Court judge Tuesday held that the measure violates the First Amendment and granted a preliminary injunction which blocks the city from enforcing the ban.

The Colorado American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the measure which goes into effect Wednesday.

“We are delighted the court agreed to issue a preliminary injunction of Colorado Springs’ no solicitation zone ordinance,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU legal director. “The charities, musicians and others we represent will now be allowed to continue to exercise their First Amendment guarantee of free expression.”

City Attorney Chris Melcher says a trial won't likely take place for at least two months.

“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling but respect the process. We will carefully review the written ruling when it is issued, likely next week. Our office will consult with City Council and the mayor, brief them on the ruling and obtain their guidance on future actions in this matter," Melcher said. "We continue to believe that the ordinance is constitutional and an appropriate effort by the city to protect our downtown merchants and residents, our visitors, families, and our community. This ordinance was narrowly drawn, carefully crafted, and thoughtfully considered and adopted by our elected leaders. The city did everything possible to create an appropriate tool to protect and support our downtown. We will continue to work with merchants and residents to help the revitalization of our downtown community."