Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Colorado Sheriffs Launch Challenge to Magazine and Private Transfer Ban

Monday, June 24, 2013

While anti-gun legislation rarely comes as a surprise in the Northeast, anti-gun activists were especially proud to pass New York-style gun control in Colorado. What they may not have counted on was determined opposition in the courts—led by most of the state’s top elected law enforcement officials.

On May 17, 54 of 64 Colorado county sheriffs, joined by several other groups representing gun owners, filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief to halt the enforcement of HB 1224, a ban on magazines holding more than 15 rounds, and HB 1229, which restricts the ways in which gun owners may lawfully transfer firearms. Signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on March 20, the laws are set to take effect on July 1. NRA counsel is providing assistance to our fellow gun rights advocates and working on behalf of the rights of the disabled plaintiffs.

HB 1224 bans the sale and transfer after July 1 of magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition. Complicating matters is the problematic wording of the law, which can be interpreted to ensnare nearly all magazines—even those permanently attached to a firearm. The legislation prohibits any magazine that is “designed to be readily converted” to a capacity greater than 15.

The complaint points out that those familiar with magazine construction understand that most magazines on the market are made with removable floorplates, allowing for the owner to maintain or clean the magazine. However, this could also allow the attachment of aftermarket or homemade parts that might increase the capacity of a magazine to more than 15 rounds, potentially making the majority of magazines on the market illegal under Colorado law. (The complaint notes that Gov. Hickenlooper and the chief sponsor of the legislation support this interpretation.)

The complaint also takes issue with HB 1224’s requirement that all magazines with a capacity greater than 15 rounds be under the “continuous possession” of the person who possessed them before July 1. As the complaint points out, this “makes it impossible for firearms to be used or shared in ordinary and innocent ways, such as a gun owner loaning his or her firearm with the magazine to a spouse, family member, or friend; entrusting it to a gunsmith for repair; [or] a military reservist leaving firearms and their associated magazines with a spouse when he or she is called into service away from home.”

The complaint makes clear that HB 1224’s ban on magazines with a capacity greater than 15 rounds is a violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The complaint notes that the landmark Heller decision protects the ownership of firearms “in common use at the time.” Magazines capable of accepting more than 15 rounds, and magazines that are constructed with detachable floorplates, are unquestionably common today. As the complaint points out, “By outlawing the larger and smaller magazines which are necessary components of the large majority of handguns and of a very large number of rifles. HB 1224 is a gun ban even more sweeping than the handgun-only ban which was ruled unconstitutional in Heller.”

Also under attack is HB 1224’s provision banning magazines “designed to be readily convertible” to hold more than 15 rounds. This provision is unconstitutionally vague under the Fourteenth Amendment, because individual plaintiffs “cannot possibly know the intent of the designers of all magazines for the firearms which Plaintiffs own,” and sheriffs “have no means to determine the intent of magazine designers” in order to enforce the law.

As in the New York suit, the Colorado plaintiffs include a pair of disabled citizens, whose disabilities force them to face the burdens of the magazine ban. Unable to manage a magazine change as quickly as an able-bodied person, these plaintiffs rely on larger-capacity magazines for their self-defense. The complaint argues that under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, states are prohibited from engaging in discrimination against the disabled. Thus, as the burdens of the new law fall inordinately on the disabled by limiting the meaningful exercise of their right to self-defense, HB 1224 should be struck down as a violation of federal law.

Meanwhile, HB 1229—the private sales ban—presents its own set of problems. The complaint points out that one category of gun laws the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed “presumptively constitutional” are laws “imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms.” But HB 1229 bars non-commercial transfers such as loans for hunting or self-defense and requires that other temporary  transfers last no longer than 72 hours. Making this restriction even more problematic, as the complaint notes, is that the wait time for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to conduct background checks for firearm transfers has stretched at some points to several days or even longer, leaving some residents with no opportunity to immediately acquire the means for self-defense.

TRENDING NOW
Obama Lies about Guns… Again

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Obama Lies about Guns… Again

Despite no longer living in the White House, former President Barack Obama continues to be a headache to law-abiding Americans. On May 30, Obama spoke at a digital innovation event in Brazil. During the onstage ...

Don’t Say They Didn’t Warn You: Left Leaning Voices Question Democrats’ Anti-Gun Proposals, Fervor

News  

Friday, June 7, 2019

Don’t Say They Didn’t Warn You: Left Leaning Voices Question Democrats’ Anti-Gun Proposals, Fervor

If the 2020 Democrat presidential primary is any indication, that party’s base and donor class will accept nothing less from their nominee than commitments to sweeping gun control. And the contenders appear happy to accommodate ...

Pittsburgh Mayor Presents DICK’S CEO an Award for Gun Control Advocacy

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Pittsburgh Mayor Presents DICK’S CEO an Award for Gun Control Advocacy

On June 4-5, the annual Yale Mayors College & CEO Summit was held in New York City. The theme of this year’s CEO Summit was “Trumpeting the Issues without Becoming the Issue: Selective Use of CEO Voice.” ...

Advice Columnist Tells Father to Evict Daughter from His House for Owning a Gun

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Advice Columnist Tells Father to Evict Daughter from His House for Owning a Gun

Amy Dickinson is an advice columnist who, according to the company that syndicates her work, “combines storytelling with advice that is rooted with honesty and trust.” “Ask Amy” appears in newspapers that include The Baltimore Sun, ...

Bloomberg Course: Ineffective Policies and Non-Existent Technology

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Bloomberg Course: Ineffective Policies and Non-Existent Technology

This week in the online course “Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change” is a real rollercoaster. Week Five is titled “Regulating Gun Design, Enforcing Gun Laws, and Reducing Police-Involved Shootings” covers so-called assault ...

New Jersey “Smart Gun” Law Gets an F Grade

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Jersey “Smart Gun” Law Gets an F Grade

After signing six gun control measures into law a year ago, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy warned that “Our work is far from done.” Several new bills are now making the rounds in a state already notorious ...

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Friday, June 14, 2019

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Ignoring the constitutional rights of law-abiding Nevadans, on June 14th, Governor Steve Sisolak signed omnibus anti-gun Assembly Bill 291 into law.  Your NRA would like to thank the many lawmakers who stood with our members and ...

Tennessee: Governor Bill Lee Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tennessee: Governor Bill Lee Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Last week, Governor Bill Lee signed important self-defense legislation, House Bill 1264 /Senate Bill 705, into law.

New Hampshire: House Concurs On Anti-Gun Bills

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Hampshire: House Concurs On Anti-Gun Bills

On June 13th, the New Hampshire state House of Representatives voted to concur on two anti-gun bills that they had received back from the Senate.  House Bills 109 and 514 will now go to Governor ...

Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

News  

Friday, June 7, 2019

Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

In response to reports that the Virginia Beach shooter used a firearm suppressor in carrying out his terrible crime, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Giffords gun control group, claimed that a suppressed pistol ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.