Mere days after Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law several firearm-related bills, an opposing lawsuit is already in the works. According to CBS Denver, a group of sheriffs from around the state are planning to file a lawsuit against the gun control measures citing constitutional infringement.
“The governor refused to meet with them, the legislature ignored them so their claims now will be heard in federal court,” said Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute, who is an expert on constitutional law. The sheriffs believe that the gun bills, which included HB 1224, a measure to lower maximum magazine capacity, violates the Second Amendment by restricting common-use firearm accessories. Some law enforcement officials also express difficulty in enforcing the laws.
“Even if there were no specific constitutional rights involved, as is here with the right to keep and bear arms, laws on anything must at least pass the rational basis test,” Kopel said, claiming the Fourteenth Amendment is also being infringed by the laws’ unclear nature. Already, many gun owners fear that wording in HB 1224 could cause a ban in all magazines designed for semi-automatic firearms. The statute calls for a ban for any magazine that can be readily converted to accept more than the allotted 15 rounds. Gun accessory manufacturer Magpul has retained law firm Holland and Hart LLP to challenge the bill on this point, which would make the statute nearly impossible to enforce in its current form.
“The simple fact is that virtually every magazine on the market has an open floor plate, and that design makes every magazine readily convertible,” reads a report from the firm. Their end analysis concludes that the bill is “unconstitutionally vague” and filled with “structural flaws.” The full report can be read here.
The situation in Colorado is indicative of gun owners in the nation turning to legal means to challenge gun control laws. The debate rages perhaps the hottest in New York, where the passage of the NY SAFE Act has polarized both both sides of the issue. Most recently, the National Rifle Association announced plans to join New York plaintiffs against the act.