Four Colorado Springs bar owners who recently announced plans to defy the state's smoking ban were cited Friday for suspected violations of the law.
Customers openly smoked at the bar of Murray Street Darts early Friday afternoon, about an hour after a visit from police officers and state liquor inspectors ended with owner Bruce Hicks holding a stack of tickets listing 22 suspected violations of the law, each carrying a $200 fine.
"They are trying to shut us up," said Hicks, who has tried to organize bar owners to join him in a rebellion against the ban that calls for each to collect $1 from customers who choose to smoke for a "get-out-of-jail" fund. He said he does not plan to change course now.
"Do you think it will make a difference if they give me four or five more?" Hicks asked.
While Hicks said he will fight the tickets -- which add up to $4,400 -- he wasn't the only one to get them Friday. Joe's Bar on Flintridge Drive received 15 tickets, The Hilltop Lounge on Barnes Road got eight, and D.J.'s Bar and Grill on East Fillmore Street got four, adding to two issued at that business a week ago.