Colorado Supreme Court Hears Challenge To State's Magazine Ban

While local news outlets in Colorado are reporting on the non-compliance and lack of enforcement when it comes to the state’s ban on magazines over 15-rounds, an attempt to strike down the law on Second Amendment grounds has reached the state’s high court. Justices in Denver heard oral arguments on Thursday in a case brought by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, and while the attorneys for the gun rights group argued that the state constitution and rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court should invalidate Colorado’s magazine ban, the state’s solicitor general, Eric Olson, argued that your rights depend on how the State interprets them.

The legal challenge brought by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights is based on the gun rights’ provision in the Colorado Constitution, which expressly protects the right of people to be armed to defend their homes, property and themselves. Given that, Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson told the justices they have the right to interpret the state’s constitution on their own, noting that U.S. Supreme Court guidance changes over time.

Olson argued the state Supreme Court should instead stick with the approach it established in 1994 in a challenge to an assault weapons ban passed by Denver — deciding whether a law furthers a legitimate government interest without being too broad.

In essence, Olson wants a lower standard of judicial review for the state’s ban than what Second Amendment groups are calling for, which would allow for the judges to uphold the magazine ban because it “furthers a goverment interest”; in this case, public safety. At least that’s the claim.

As we’ve pointed out here before, crime in Colorado has actually increased every year that the state’s magazine ban has been in place, which would indicate it’s pretty worthless as a public safety tool. In fact, there’ve been only a handful of prosecutions for violating the magazine ban, in part because it’s incredibly difficult to prove that a magazine was manufactured after the ban took effect in 2013.

The state of Colorado doesn’t have to prove that their law works, however. They just have to convince a majority of the state Supreme Court that the ban should remain on the books.

“The large-capacity magazine law will decrease the deadly impacts of mass shootings by reducing the number of people who will be harmed during a mass shooting incident, and it will save lives,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a written statement. “It also honors Coloradans’ right to bear arms for personal defense. That is why we are asking the Colorado Supreme Court to uphold this law.”

With all due respect to AG Weiser, that’s nonsense. We know for a fact that the state’s magazine ban isn’t lowering crime or saving lives, and banning commonly owned magazines does not “honor”, respect, or even acknowledge the right to keep and bear arms at all. Instead, the state is simply treating the right as a privilege, subject to the whims of lawmakers and gun control groups who believe in sacrificing individual liberty for the illusion of public safety.

The Colorado Supreme Court may wait to hear what the U.S. Supreme Court says in the challenge to a New York City gun law before releasing its opinion in the magazine ban challenge. In the case going before SCOTUS, one of the issues that plaintiffs are hoping will be addressed by justices is the standard of review that courts should be using when determining the constitutionality of gun control laws. A strong decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in NYSPRA v. NYC could have a big impact on gun control laws around the country, including Colorado’s misguided, ineffective, and unconstitutional magazine ban.