Over the weekend, a Colorado sheriff said that he “won’t bother enforcing” the new gun control measures awaiting the signature of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper because it would be impossible to track whether gun owners are meeting the requirements set forth in the bills.
In an interview with The Greeley Tribune, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said that the measures are “feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable,” moreover that they give people a “false sense of security.”
As Guns.com previously reported, the state legislature passed five gun control measures last week, including a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales and another that would ban magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
In discussing the magazine ban, Cooke criticized the language of the bill, saying that it technically bans all magazines because it includes magazines that can be altered to accept more than 15 rounds. He said all magazines could be converted into large-capacity magazines; therefore they’re all banned under the bill.
An early draft of the bill reads (emphasis added):
The bill prohibits the sale, transfer, or possession of an ammunition feeding device that is capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than 15 rounds of ammunition or more than 5 shotgun shells (large-capacity magazine).
Cooke also argued that universal background checks are pointless, that they’re not going to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or those who are determined to perpetrate violence.
“Criminals are still going to get their guns,” he said.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa echoed Cooke’s remarks, telling a crowd of people at a public gathering in Colorado Springs last Thursday that enforcing these laws would be impossible as it would be too difficult to keep tabs on who bought what, when.
“I can’t tell you when those [magazines] were sold, bought and purchased. As far as I’m concerned, they were all pre-July 1 if the Governor does sign this bill,” he said.
Cooke, along with several other sheriffs, is considering filing a lawsuit to officially block the measures should Hickenlooper sign them into law, which seems imminent at this point.
Meanwhile, many lawmakers are defending their moves to make the Centennial State the vanguard of gun control reform at the state level.
“Are we going to stop all criminals from getting guns? No,” said Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver), who co-sponsored the UBC bill. “But are we are going to put a barrier there, make it more difficult for them? Yes.”
The White House applauded the effort as well. In a tweet, Vice President Joe Biden said, “Congrats to Colorado House and Senate for passing universal background checks.” In a follow-up tweet, he alluded to the movie theater shooting and said, “The families of Aurora deserved a vote and got one. Now U.S. Congress must act too.”