Colo. gun rights groups, state sheriffs file suit over state’s new gun control laws

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, May 20, 2013

Several pro-gun rights organizations in Colorado, as well as 54 of the state’s 62 elected sheriffs, have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state to challenge the legality of its new gun control laws.

Among the restrictions being challenged in the suit are mandatory background checks for firearm purchases and restrictions on the capacity of gun magazines. Both restrictions were signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper in March. The background check requirements are already in effect, while the magazine capacity requirement will begin on July 1.

“On one hand, I’m proud to be part of this historic case,” Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said at a press conference Friday announcing the suit. “But on the other hand, it saddens me that we have to be here at all. It should never have gotten to this point in the first place.”

Eighteen of the 54 sheriffs participating in the suit were present at Friday’s press conference. Among the eight sheriffs who didn’t add their names to the suit are those representing the counties of Boulder and Denver – two of the state’s largest cities.

The group’s formal complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the state of Colorado, alleges that the two gun control laws, HB 1224 and HB 1229, both contain unconstitutional and impractical provisions.

“Sheriffs cannot enforce a statute that violates the fundamental constitutional rights of the citizens of Colorado,” it reads.

The suit was organized by the Independence Institute, a Colorado-based libertarian think tank. David Kopel, the organization’s Second Amendment project director, added at the press conference that the group is also considering filing a motion for a preliminary injunction on the laws.

Other groups participating in the suit include disabled gun owners, Women for Concealed Carry, the Colorado Farm Bureau, 20 different gun rights, hunting and shooting organizations and several sporting goods stores in the state.

Gun parts manufacturer Magpul, which had previously announced that it would move its headquarters out of Colorado after the bills were signed into law, also joined the suit.

“While Magpul is currently in the process of moving its operations out of Colorado, we will not turn our back on our native state,” Duane Liptak, Magpul’s director of product management and marketing, wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “Extreme gun control interests have forced the passage of these unconstitutional laws in Colorado, and as a company, we are resolved to restore those rights to the people.”

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