Starting July 1, gun owners in Colorado and Connecticut will be adjusting to a new reality as gun control legislation passed in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, begins to take effect.
What does this new reality look like?
Well, as of today, Coloradans are now no longer allowed to purchase magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Additionally, every private gun sale and/or transfer is now subject to an FBI criminal background check, though some exemptions may apply for immediate family members, i.e., spouses, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren.
Unsurprisingly, law-abiding gun dealers and manufacturers do no believe the magazine ban will curb gun-related violence because (a) tens of millions of 15-plus round magazines already exist in circulation, (b) 15-plus round magazines are easily constructed from modified lower-capacity magazines and (c) criminals, by their very nature, do not obey the law.
“This is a very poorly thought-out, irrational law. And the shame of it is it’s not going to stop one criminal from doing harm to anybody,” Paul Paradis, owner of Paradise Sales in Colorado Springs, told the Associated Press.
As for the universal background check mandate it presents for any responsible gun owner who wants to simply sell his/her firearm to another responsible gun owner. Why? Because not only does the transaction have to be facilitated by a federal firearms licensee or gun shop dealer, but the gun owner has to find an FFL or dealer who is willing to conduct the background check and fill out the necessary documents for a service fee not to exceed $10, as required by the new law.
According to many Colorado gun dealers, this $10 price point is not economically feasible. Paradis, for instance, told the AP that he’d turn away patrons who are exclusively looking for a background check for a private transfer.
Richard Taylor, the manager of Firing-Line, a gun store in Aurora, Colorado, agreed. He told the AP that running background checks and processing the paperwork costs him in time and resources about $50.
“We’ll lose money if we do at it $10,” Taylor said.
It goes without saying, but if gun dealers, en masse, refuse to facilitate background checks for private transactions that could be a huge problem for lawmakers as it raises questions about the constitutionality and fairness of the law, which is something the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which monitors the state’s gun laws, hasn’t really considered.
“That’s something we’re going to have to evaluate as we move forward,” spokeswoman Susan Medina told the AP.
In Connecticut, the mandate for universal background checks and the ban on so-called ‘assault’ weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition have already been enacted. These measures had an immediate start date, right after the Gov. Dannel Malloy penned the bills into law.
However, what is rolling out in Connecticut now are measures that require law-abiding gun owners to obtain special certificates for purchasing long guns and ammunition, as the AP reported.
For the long-gun certificates, one must be 18 years of age or older and have successfully completed a firearms safety and training course in addition to passing state and federal background checks. One can start applying on July 1 and has until April 1, 2014 to obtain a long-gun eligibility certificate, which are valid for five years.
Likewise, Connecticuters can start applying for their ammunition eligibility certificate on Monday. They have until Oct. 1 to obtain the certificate, which requires an FBI criminal background check. One will need to present an ammo certificate (or handgun permit, long gun certificate or driver’s license) before being allowed to purchase ammo or any magazine.
Additionally, individuals who’ve been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility will have to wait longer before being allowed to obtain a gun permit.
Looking ahead, there are lawsuits in the works that seek to challenge these new restrictions on gun ownership in Connecticut and Colorado. How successfully they will be at rolling back these new laws is not exactly clear. Gun owners in both states should prepare themselves for a long fight.