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In Face Of Opposition, Hickenlooper To Sign Bill Limiting Size of Ammunition Magazines

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State of Colorado
Gov. John Hickenlooper

Governor John Hickenlooper says he will sign a Democratic backed gun bill limiting ammunition magazines to just15 rounds.

The bill has been criticized by County Sheriffs around the state and now at least two are publicly saying they “won’t bother” enforcing some of the pending legislation. Weld County Sheriff John Cooke has been a vocal critic of the bill even testifying earlier this month against the high capacity magazine limit.

In Saturday’s Greeley Tribune he said the bills are “feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable.”

Interview Highlights…

On why sheriffs like Cooke and El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa opposes some of the legislation…

“First off, they don’t like the bills because they think they give people a false sense of security and that it really doesn’t help either eliminate crime or do anything in terms of prohibiting criminals from getting guns. And they’re also upset about the fact that one of the bills, which would limit a magazine to 15 rounds, they say that most magazines can be easily altered to add additional rounds. Actually they said if the bill were to be signed into law all magazines would be illegal to transfer, sell or purchase. In fact they had a press conference Monday at the state capitol showing that this can easily be done so this is one of their main points of contention.”

On whether sheriffs can ignore the law and if they can bring a lawsuit against the state…

“What they’re contending is that these bills are not enforceable. They also point out the fact that they have discretion as to do other law enforcement agencies of not so much enforcing the bills but really deciding which ones that they’re going to put a lot of effort into. So what I think they are going to do is probably not enforce them. We’ll see what happens with their lawsuit. There have been instances where groups have sued different states on a variety of different measures and some have been successful and some have not been.”

On the outside pressure Governor Hickenlooper faced in deciding to sign the magazine limit bill…

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Credit Colorado Statesman
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Colorado Statesman

“He has gone back and forth on his support for these bills. In fact, when he first announced them he said he was supportive of these measures; he’s back tracked a little on a couple of them. And there has been a lot of pressure from the business community, especially the manufacturer of these magazines which are based here in Colorado. They have threatened to withdraw their business from the state and perhaps move to Wyoming or someplace which is friendlier to gun manufacturers. So there’s that kind of economic pressure on him. Plus I think that Hickenlooper coming into an election in 2014 has to contend with the fact that this is a western state and Colorado traditionally supports gun rights and the 2nd amendment so I think he’s going to be kind of caught in a quandary. And for someone who likes to bring all sides together and kind of make peace with everybody I think people are really going to look at Hickenlooper as having to come down on one side or the other regarding these gun bills.”

Jody Hope Strogoff is the publisher of the Colorado Statesman.

Email: brian.larson@kunc.org
Jody Hope Strogoff is the editor and publisher of The Colorado Statesman. The Statesman is a non-partisan political weekly newspaper, founded in 1898. Jody began working at the newspaper in the late 1970s, later purchasing the publication in 1988. She discusses the state’s political scene each Tuesday at 6:35 and 8:35 during KUNC’s Morning Edition.
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