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
Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

News  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

On Sept. 25, the Democrat-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.” That framing of the issue underscored the erroneous notion that Americans need protection from ...

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

On Friday, November 22nd, the Kentucky state Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider so called “red-flag laws.” Though no legislation has been introduced, such laws usually allow for Second Amendment rights to be suspended ...

Trading Freedom for Safety

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Trading Freedom for Safety

“[N]othing is more important than ensuring that our fellow students feel safe,” explained the editors of The Daily Northwestern, the campus newspaper at Northwestern University. The statement was part of a lengthy apology published by the editors, ...

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Joe Biden and His Gift for Gaffes

When the Democrats who are seeking their party’s nomination to run against Donald Trump in 2020 start talking about guns, anyone who supports our right to keep and bear arms knows to be concerned. Of ...

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sanders Burns the 2020 Democratic Primary Gun Control Agenda

As anti-gun as the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have exposed themselves to be, much of the field still gives lip-service to the Second Amendment and the Constitution. Take for instance Joe Biden. The leading candidate’s campaign has said that ...

California: City of Carson Pushing Another Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Gun Owners

Monday, November 18, 2019

California: City of Carson Pushing Another Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Gun Owners

Tomorrow, November 19 at 5pm PST, the Carson City Council will be considering Resolution 19-186, which mirrors the failed attempt from September.  

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

News  

Monday, November 18, 2019

No Protection for the Law that Protects the Firearm Industry: Supreme Court Passes on PLCAA Case

A law designed to protect the firearm industry from frivolous litigation is now in jeopardy thanks to inaction by the U.S. Supreme Court, which earlier this month passed on a petition to review a case ...

California: City of Carson Defeats Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Gun Owners

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

California: City of Carson Defeats Unconstitutional Resolution Targeting Lawful Gun Owners

For the second time, the Carson City Council defeated Mayor Robles’ resolution (4 to 1) that would only effect law-abiding citizens.  The City Council also voted 4 to 1 to not bring this resolution back ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Florida Alert! Update on NRA Lawsuit in Florida 18-21-Year-Old Sales Ban Case

The National Rifle Association has abandoned an effort to keep secret the identities of two young adults in a challenge to a state law raising the age to purchase rifles and other long guns.

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.