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Colorado Sheriffs sue state government over illegal gun control laws

Monday, April 22, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Colorado, gun control, Second Amendment

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(NaturalNews) The vast majority of legal action aimed at countering gun control legislation has occurred on the federal level, but a group of Colorado sheriffs are keeping their disagreement local, instead suing their own state over its recent passage of anti-Second Amendment legislation.

The suit exposes "the disconnect between Colorado politicians and the law enforcement officers charged with upholding the law," reported WorldNetDaily, which said more than half of the state's sheriffs were involved in, or are planning to, file action against the state over three new gun laws signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper March 20, eight months after a drug-crazed lunatic posing as The Joker shot up a movie theater full of patrons watching the premier of the newest "Batman" movie in Aurora, Colo.

The suit, announced by Weld County Sheriff John Cooke April 10, comes after Cooke had said publicly he won't be enforcing the new gun control laws because he believes they are unconstitutional.

"The legislators ignored the will of the people and passed these unconstitutional gun laws, and they need to be held accountable for their decision," Cooke said in an interview with WorldNetDaily.

You can pass gun laws, but that doesn't mean they can, or should, be enforced

Politicians are free to pass laws, Weld said, but it is law enforcement personnel like him who are left to deal with the real-world implications of ensuring the laws are put into effect. And because of that - along with their belief that the infringement clause of the Second Amendment has been violated - at least 37 of the state's 62 sheriffs have said they plan to file suit against the new measures. Per the Denver Post:

One bill limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds, another requires universal background checks, and the third charges gun customers for the cost of the checks.

Dave Kopel, a lawyer with the Independence Institute, which is handling the suit, said as of mid-April the brief was still being prepared, but that he expects it will be filed before the end of the month.

"We are still working out the details, but there is a very solid case here. We are still working on some of the specifics, however we do feel we have a variety of strong legal claims that are worth bringing to court," he said.

Democrats control all branches of government in Colorado - both houses and the governorship. Opponents of the new measures say they were rammed through without much consideration following a push by President Obama.

"Among the measures are requirements for universal background checks for gun transfers and a ban on magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Additionally, residents now wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right must now pay a fee. The laws are among the toughest in the nation passed since the Sandy Hook massacre in December," WorldNetDaily reported.

During the brief legislative process leading up to passage of the new laws, many state sheriffs were out in front leading the opposition - which even drew a veiled threat from Democrats in the statehouse that a proposed raise for law enforcement personnel was at risk of going away.

Pressure by the White House, constituents be damned

The fix was in from the beginning. Chamber-controlling Democrats only permitted time for one sheriff to speak against each provision of the new law. Also, it was obvious that Colorado Democrats were little more than lackeys for the Obama Administration, WND said.

In February, Vice president Biden flew to Colorado to essentially strong-arm Dem lawmakers who were being pressured by constituents to reject the measures.

"He (Biden) said it would send a strong message to the rest of the country that a Western state had passed gun-control bills," said Tony Exhum, a Democratic lawmaker from Colorado Springs, in an interview with the Denver Post.

House Majority Leader Mark Ferrandino also admitted the gun-control bills introduced by fellow Democrats had national implications.

"I was shocked that he called. He said he thought the bills could help them on a national level," Ferrandino said.

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