Fifty-four Colorado sheriffs and other plaintiffs including disabled gun owners have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Centennial State’s new laws affecting sales and temporary transfer of firearms, and placing limits on magazine capacity.
Attorney and gun rights scholar David Kopel of the Denver-based Independence Institute is serving as lead counsel in the case, TGM has learned.
Joining the Sheriffs in the lawsuit are disabled individuals, Outdoor Buddies (a charitable organization for disabled individuals), licensed firearms dealers, Magpul, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Colorado State Shooting Association, the Colorado Outfitters Association, Colorado Youth Outdoors, and Women for Concealed Carry, according to a press release from the Independence Institute.
Nationally, sportsmen have mounted an economic boycott of Colorado hunting, camping and fishing after the legislation was signed by anti-gun Gov. John Hickenlooper. Colorado’s economy could take a billion-dollar hit. Nationally-syndicated Gun Talk radio host Tom Gresham spearheaded the boycott in March, and it has gained momentum over the past seven weeks.
Coincidentally, the state of Maryland may also be facing loss of business because Gov. Martin O’Malley, another anti-gun Democrat, has signed restrictive gun control measures into law. At stake is a move by Beretta from its Accokeek headquarters, according to award-winning Washington Times opinion editor Emily Miller.
Several sheriffs in New York State have also gone to court over that state’s new – and some say hastily written – gun control law.
Magpul Industries, which manufactures after-market magazines for modern sporting rifles and other firearms, has already begun moving its manufacturing operation out of Colorado in protest.
According to the Independence Institute press release, “The suit points out that House Bill 1224 outlaws the majority of firearms magazines, which are an essential component for a functional firearm. The bill directly outlaws magazines of more than 15 rounds. The bill indirectly outlaws many smaller magazines with its vague language about “designed to be readily converted.” This appears to outlaw all handgun and rifle box magazines with removable floor plates, and all rifle tube magazines with removable end caps.
“This violates the Supreme Court’s rule in District of Columbia v. Heller against prohibiting arms which are ‘typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes’,” the release asserts.
“Another problem with the magazine ban is the requirement for ‘continuous possession’ of grandfathered magazines,” the release explains. “This makes it illegal for a wife to let her husband use her magazine for self-defense, or to borrow her magazine and take it to a target range.”
This lawsuit is the latest chapter in a battle over gun rights that ignited five months ago with the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Gun prohibitionists moved swiftly to exploit the tragedy, and in four states – New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Colorado – anti-gun legislatures dominated by Democrats pushed through various gun control measures that now have firearms rights activists and their attorneys scrambling.
In Colorado, groups have sprung up to push the recall of several state lawmakers who championed and supported the restrictive new anti-gun measures. Whether Colorado legislators overstepped their bounds may be settled in court, but removing even two or three from office in recall elections would send a strong signal to Denver that Coloradoans will not tolerate infringement on their gun rights.
Meanwhile, hunters and anglers from across the country will be avoiding Colorado like a toxic waste dump at least this year, as they take their money to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah and the Dakotas.