A total of 54 Colorado sheriffs have joined gun rights activists and gun industry players in a federal district court lawsuit against the state of Colorado. They’re attempting to undo two of the recently-passed gun control bills passed in Colorado, HB 1224 banning magazines with greater than 15-round capacities and HB 1229 requiring background checks for all firearm transfers.
The lawsuit is led by David Kopel of the Independence Institute, renown Second Amendment expert (read a recent interview here), which was filed today.
In an statement to KDVR Kopel said, “You can have sensible gun control laws that actually do protect public safety without infringing on people’s rights. These ridiculous new statutes are not in that category.”
They’re fighting these bills on constitutional grounds, citing Heller which recognized the individual’s right to own common firearms and McDonald which ruled that the Second Amendment applies equally to all states, as is protected by the 14th Amendment. The plaintiffs are asserting that some of the language used in the bills is unconstitutionally vague, a violation of due process, and additionally that they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Earlier this year sheriffs from across the state protested the legislation, which was signed into law despite their objections. With 54 sheriffs filing suit, they represent 84 percent of the state’s 64 sheriffs. They’re joining 20 other plaintiffs including the Colorado Farm Bureau, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Women for Concealed Carry, and Magpul Industries.
Proponents of these laws were spurred by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and received visits from Vice President Joe Biden. Opponents were critical of the outside influence on the state’s laws and politics.
“These laws didn’t come from Colorado,” Kopel said. “These laws are written by the Michael Bloomberg lobby, cookie cutter things that are pushed all over the country and in Congress — terribly mis-written laws by people who know very little about firearms or firearms laws.”
Sheriff John Cook, one of the first and most prominent of the sheriffs to stand out against these laws and vice president of the Western States Sheriffs Association said, “I’m here today, actually, with mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m proud to be a part of this historic case, proud to stand with 53 of my fellow elected sheriffs who willingly put their name on this lawsuit because they took an oath to uphold the Constitution.”
“On the other hand, it really saddens me that we have to be here today at all. It never should have come to this,” Cook said at the press conference. “It’s a shame that the sheriffs, women’s groups, disabled shooters and business owners had to band together and sue the state to protect the right that the Founders guaranteed to us in our Constitution.”
“These bills do absolutely nothing to make Colorado a safer place,” Cook continued. “Instead, these misguided, unconstitutional bills will do have opposite because they greatly restrict the rights of decent, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, their families and their homes.”
The bills go into effect July 1 of this year, but the plaintiffs may also seek an injunction against them down the line.
“We are considering the possibility of filing a motion for preliminary injunction before July 1 on at least some of the issues for these laws,” Kopel added.
If the injunction goes through, the bills will not take effect, giving Coloradans a temporary freedom from their strict new gun control laws.
Kopel’s Independence Institute is accepting donations from people willing to provide financial support. If you want to help fight this legal battle with your wallet, head over to the Independence Institute’s Second Amendment Project page and give. If you would like to see the complete complaint, you can read it here (.pdf).
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