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Ryan Lynch of Littleton, CO wanted to sell ‘high end’ and collectible guns from his home – which also happened to be a few blocks from Columbine Hills Elementary School. To open the new business, he needed a zoning variance from the Jefferson County Board of Adjustment, something that’s normally be a routine process. So when he appeared for his appointed meeting before the board to make his case for the variance, no one showed up to oppose the idea…except Steve Bell.

When the board opened the floor for public comment, only one person rose to speak: Jeffco Schools Chief Operating Officer Steve Bell.

“This location is about three, three and a half blocks, from anelementary school,” Bell said. “Our concern, I think, is a fairly obvious one, and that would be walk-in traffic that would be able to purchase a weapon from his home, leave his home, and be on the street three blocks from an elementary school with ammunition and a weapon.”

“I don’t think it matters where a person purchases a weapon, they can be within three blocks of a school pretty easily,” a board member noted.

The board approved Lynch’s variance. Unanimously. But when contacted him about his opposition, Bell had a convenient memory lapse. Guess he forgot the board publishes meeting minutes. And that there was a big camera to his left when he testified.

After hearing his words read back to him, Bell said his concern was not specific to any particular business.

When it was highlighted that he had spoken about “his home” and a specific distance from a school, Bell said he only testified because he’d been asked to by a group of people, which he later clarified to mean neighbors near Lynch’s residence.

In fact, during the hearing, a board member is heard off-camera asking Bell who he was speaking for.

“You said ‘our,'” the board member said. “You speaking for yourself or a group?”

“The school district. Jefferson County Public Schools,” Bell replied. “I represent the school district.”

Bell’s outright lies have the district’s PR flack doing some speedy and filling, changing the story again, and issuing the following statement:

“Jeffco Public Schools is consistently supportive of local businesses and the district has no interest in creating obstacles to the creation of legitimate businesses. The district was asked by the neighbors in the Columbine Hills area to send someone to the hearing. Chief Operating Officer Steve Bell was there on a fact-finding mission to ensure that this business posed no threat to the safety of our students. The district does not have any concerns at this point about this particular small business. Nothing is more important to us than keeping children safe.”

Your tax dollars at work, Jefferson County. The school district helpfully publishes their code of conduct for parents and students online. Under student responsibilities this important item is listed:

10. To practice and encourage honesty inacademic work and in all other transactions.

Good thing this doesn’t apply to the district’s administrators. Otherwise, Mr. Bell might find himself in trouble.

[h/t Patrick Brown for the heads up]

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  1. I actually went to Columbine Hills Elementary as a child in the 80’s. I don’t have much other than that to add to this story, except, does anyone expect a school official in the district where “The Columbine” happened to act differently? At least the board approved the variance.

    • Me, too, but back in the 70’s. Small world!

      I also went to Columbine High. Class of 1980.

  2. “does anyone expect a school official in the district where “The Columbine” happened to act differently?”

    Not really. But why lie about it after the fact? What was he ashamed of?

    • Perhaps he knew he was going off the reservation a bit, and used “our” when he didn’t have authority to do so? Perhaps he was ashamed for getting caught in his lies? Who knows?

      • perhaps people need to show up at the next school board meeting and demand an investigation into his authority?

  3. Ryan Lynch should send a thank-you note to Mr. Bell, he can’t beat the free publicity! I love it when bully tactics backfire.

  4. Typical progressive/gun-grabber: flip-flopping cowards.

    It’s as if some deep part of them realizes what morons they’re being, so they become indescribably ashamed of it.

  5. Y’know, I can see it happening. Some crackpot goes over to Ryan Lynch’s high-end gun shop, snags himself an original Colt Model 1861 Navy revolver in NRA excellent condition, a bunch of percussion caps, .36 caliber ball ammo and powder, and then shoots up the school. It’s a pretty common occurrence, actually.

    • +1

      Not like he has a higher chance of blowing his hand up or anything using modern powders. It’s the perfect crime waiting to happen.

  6. Steve Bell is IMO a politician in the making. He’s not going to tell the truth or admit to lying. Of course his only concern is to medle in everybodies business.

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