This is NOT legal under either Colorado State Law (Colorado Revised Statutes) or U.S. Federal law. In fact, it violates several provisions of various laws.
Specifically, landlords in Colorado can only render contracts null and void based on items which are themselves prohibited by law, such as illegal drugs. They can place reasonable restrictions on other items such as pets and satellite dishes, as those items can result in additional expenses for the landlord and change the overall ambiance of the complex. The U.S. Constitution, however, expressly forbids authorities from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. To wit: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t say “may not.” It doesn’t say “should not.” It says “shall not.” Furthermore, in District of Columbia vs Heller, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the people to keep firearms in their homes.
All federal courts and the Supreme Court have already ruled that the lawful exercise of your right to keep and bear arms does NOT infringe on the rights of others. Specifically, they’ve said if the firearm is properly carried under state law i.e. you’re not brandishing it, then no one else’s rights are being violated. People do not have any right to be “free from seeing something they find either scary, alarming, or offensive.” This includes sayings on a t-shirt, the color of someone’s hair, or a firearm. The courts have ruled that the lawful carry of a firearm is not legal grounds for “alarm” any more that would be a picture of a spider on someone’s shirt. If spiders offend, scare, or alarm others, that’s unfortunately, but the truth remains that the Constitutional rights of the people shall not be infringed.
The landlord has NO legal right or cause to evict, and inclusion of this restriction in the lease violates Colorado State law, Federal landlord/tenant/leasing laws, and the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution itself.
Finally, the “federal building” argument does not apply. The only “federal building” exceptions involve buildings where the federal government provides services to the public at large. It does NOT extend to residential areas. Here’s why: The area inside the resident’s home is protected under Supreme Court decisions Heller and McDonald. Furthermore, the common-use areas enjoyed by all the tenants are legally governed under “joint tenancy” laws. Even though the property may be owned by a landlord, that doesn’t give the landlord the right to violate the Constitutional rights of the individuals who live there, regardless of whether the landlord is Joe Citizen or Uncle Sam. The tenants retain the same rights in “joint tenancy” areas as they would in the front yards of homeowners, with few exceptions. One such exception is that they cannot plant their own flowers or erect structures. They can, however, set up a beach chair on the grass and lay out in the sun. Properly covered, of course. If the keeping and bearing of arms is allowed by law, as it is in this case, the building’s owners can NOT violate those rights.
UPDATE 1: I sent this layman’s brief to Will Ripley of 9News and others in the local politburo. Don’t know how much my assessment helped, but I’m happy if it helped.
UPDATE 2: We WON! Link. The Douglas County Housing Partnership, who has authority to overturn Ross Management’s actions, 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.” A spokesperson for the Denver Housing Authority said, “It’s unconstitutional to prohibit the legal possession of a gun or a firearm on public housing property.”
On an interesting side note, the owners of Ross Management have given $9,000 to Democrats. Zip to any other political party. Naturally, this explains a lot.