This Won't Be Won in the Courts

June 29th, 2014

Last year, the Colorado legislature hastily passed a package of gun regulations. The new laws include a ban on all magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds, and the requirement that all transfers of firearms between individuals go through a gun dealer and be subject to a background check. To say this was an unpopular decision with the voters would be an understatement.

Two sitting state Senators were recalled from office, and a third resigned in the face of an impending recall. The Governor himself seems to regret signing it.

A large group of plaintiffs brought a lawsuit, but the Colorado District Court has ruled that both laws are constitutional [pdf].

(…) the Court finds that although § 18-12-302 burdens the operation of semiautomatic weapons, the burden is not severe because it does not materially reduce the ability of a person to use a semiautomatic firearm for self-defense, nor does it reduce the effectiveness of self-defensive efforts [p. 32]

Likewise, Judge Krieger found that the background-check requirement does not impose enough of a burden to violate the 2nd Amendment. Dave Kopel and Weld County Sheriff John Cooke have stated that they plan to appeal her ruling in the 10th Circuit.

I think that's a very bad idea.

Hickenlooper Goes on the Defensive

June 20th, 2014

The headline reads, "Colorado governor tries to apologize for gun control measures, blames staff, then curses." That's actually a pretty good summary of the situation. Video of his statement is here.

You may recall that 55 of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado brought a suit to challenge the constitutionality of the gun-control bills Hickenlooper signed last year. You may also recall that state Senators Morse and Giron were ousted in a historic recall election over those bills, and that Senator Hudak resigned just as she was about to be recalled.

Now, when …

Listen Up, Hippies

January 4th, 2014

Here comes Captain Buzzkill to harsh your mellow. The state of Colorado claims it's now legal to purchase, possess, and consume recreational marijuana. In short, you can spark up the bong and the fuzz can't bust you. That's the groovy part.

The heavy part, man, is that smoking the reefer is still a violation of federal law. In case you're confused, that's the bigger part of government. The one all the way over in Washington, DC. Put your finger on the map and move it to the right. Past Kentucky. A little further. There you go.

By their laws, you're an …

Evie Hudak Resigns in Colorado

November 27th, 2013

Colorado voters successfully recalled state Senators Morse and Giron back in September (bonus sad clown tears here). While there were other pressing issues, their support for gun control was the most glaring to their constituents.

Despite outspending the NRA and local groups by a wide margin, Michael Bloomberg was unable to protect either of them. His promises (and threats) that gun control was a safe vote suddenly rang very hollow. Following those recalls, Governor Hickenlooper meekly asked gun control groups to stay out of Colorado.

Gun rights supporters then set their sights on Evie Hudak, well known …

Gun Control: No Longer a Safe Bet

October 14th, 2013

Last month, Colorado State Senators Giron and Morse were recalled from office by a grassroots campaign. The underlying issues were their support for three gun-control bills and their refusal to listen to constituents on the matter. Despite a massive amount of outside financial and political support, neither Senator was able to hold their seat.

A third recall, this one for Denver Senator Evie Hudak, is now building steam. This time around, Governor Hickenlooper is asking Michael Bloomberg and other sympathetic interests to stay out of the fray.

The question is, why? According to Hickenlooper, Coloradans are suspicious of …

Colorado: The Morning After

September 15th, 2013

Everyone's scrambling to interpret the consequences of last week's recall elections in Colorado. Ousted Senator Angela Giron went on CNN last Thursday and tried to play the voter suppression card before Brooke Baldwin cut her off. It was obvious that Giron was utterly blindsided by the results.

She refuses to accept that her vote for hasty and onerous legislation had anything to do with it. Arrogance towards her constituents? Nah. This was a conspiracy by the NRA and the Koch brothers. I kid you not.

Governor Hickenlooper tried to play down the importance of the …

Colorado Recall Successful

September 11th, 2013

Colorado Senator Angela Giron and Senate President John Morse have been successfully recalled in Colorado. Republican Bernie Herpin will be taking Morse's place. I'm happy to say I called this one wrong.

This recall election was about one thing: gun control. The Colorado legislature capitalized on the emotional impact of the Sandy Hook shooting to push several onerous bills before cooler heads could prevail. HB 1224, restricting ownership of magazines holding more than 15 rounds, led to Magpul pulling their operations out of state and taking $92 million out of the economy.

A bill mandating that …

Colorado Follows New York

March 20th, 2013

Colorado Governor Hickenlooper has signed all three of the gun-control laws that landed on his desk. The first consequence will be the imminent departure of Magpul Industries from the state. From their FaceBook page:

We have said all along that based on the legal problems and uncertainties in the bill, as well as general principle, we will have no choice but to leave if the Governor signs this into law. We will start our transition out of the state almost immediately, and we will prioritize moving magazine manufacturing operations first.

The bill to which they're responding is HB 1224 [pdf], which bans all large-capacity magazines.  As defined in the bill:

"Large-Capacity Magazine" means: a fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than fifteen rounds of ammunition or more than five shotgun shells.

Pump shotguns are excepted so long as the tubular magazine does not exceed a capacity of 28 inches. That's a capacity of 8 3.5" shells. It's worth mentioning that Republican lawmakers tacitly accepted this as it doesn't ban "common shotguns."

The problem is, Colorado's ban on "high capacity" magazines bans all removable magazines.