Six years ago, after the Aurora theater massacre, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper signed several pieces of gun control legislation into law. Universal background checks and a ban on magazines over 15 rounds were touted at the time as game changers for public safety in the state, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Violent crime’s actually gone up 25% in Colorado since the bills took effect in 2013.
We’ve previously covered the fact that Colorado’s background check law didn’t actually lead to more background checks, so we won’t rehash the failures of that particular law here. Let’s talk instead about the fact that in the six years since Colorado’s magazine ban was put on the books, it’s been used in only a handful of prosecutions across the state. In fact, KUPC reports fewer than a dozen individuals have been sentenced for violating the magazine ban since 2013. George Brauchler, the District Attorney in the state’s 18th Judicial District, says the handful of prosecutions from his office all stemmed from other violations of law, many involving illicit drugs or illegally possessed firearms. As it turns out, the law is not only unconstitutional (given the fact that magazines over 20 rounds are in common use for lawful purposes), it’s ineffective.
Brauchler does not think the law has had an impact on crime and, in his role as the district attorney who prosecuted the Aurora theater shooter, he does not think the magazine ban would have made a difference in that incident.
“I just don’t think that you can argue that ‘Man, if we just reduced the magazine capacity enough, we’re gonna save lives,’” he said. “I think that is speculative.”
The gun control crowd is big on the speculative benefits of their proposed legislation. Once the law is on the books though, they don’t seem to be too concerned about its actual effectiveness. Take Colorado State Senator Rhonda Field, for instance, who was one of the sponsors of the magazine ban.
“The number of people that have been charged or convicted, it’s not great,” Field said. “But when you think about the future, I think the right thing to be doing is to limit that capacity.”
The law’s been on the books for six years, Senator. The future is now, and the law’s not working the way you and others said it would. Companies like Magpul left the state of Colorado over this law, costing the state jobs and tax revenue. You’re not the slightest bit interested in why your law has been a failure? Or should we be looking at the state’s magazine ban as less of a law and more an article of faith, something you believe in and not something that can produce tangible results?
And let’s not forget (though admittedly, it’s easy to do) the fact that the now former governor, John Hickenlooper, is still running for president and still patting himself on the back for ramming the gun control bills through the legislature. Maybe one of the political reporters covering the Hickenlooper campaign could ask the governor why he’s so proud of these laws, when they’ve done absolutely nothing to make Colorado any safer and violent crime is actually climbing.
Meanwhile, the Colorado State Supreme Court is currently considering a challenge to the magazine ban, with written arguments scheduled to take place over the summer and oral arguments before the court in a few months.