Over half of Colorado's elected sheriffs are planning a lawsuit to overturn the state's recently-passed gun restrictions.
The Denver Post reports that 37 or Colorado's 62 elected sheriffs will file the lawsuit within the next few weeks to overturn background checks for private gun sales and a law limiting ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. The laws are scheduled to take effect July 1.
Though the County Sheriffs of Colorado have opposed a ban on high capacity magazines, the group's board of directors has reportedly decided to not join the lawsuit.
In the months since the gun control bills were first introduced in the Legislature, several of Colorado's sheriffs have made no secret of their opposition to the bills.
But El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa took to conservative talk radio station "The Jeff Crank Show" last month to accuse Colorado Springs Democratic Senate President John Morse of witholding a bill on pay raises for the County Sheriffs of Colorado because of their opposition to the gun control bills.
Maketa posted a lengthy piece titled "An Injustice Against Our Citizens" on the El Paso County Sheriff's main website and Facebook page alleging that the Senate Democrats turned away citizens who wanted to testify against House Bill 1229.
Earlier this month, just hours before President Barack Obama gave a speech in Colorado pressing Congress to pass gun control measures that would include a bill to expand background checks, 16 of the state's sheriffs held a press conference in protest.
“We are here to provide a voice to the millions of honest, law-abiding Coloradans who were ignored by their governor as well as by the majority (Democratic) party at the State House,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said.
In a postion paper on gun control, the County Sheriffs of Colorado publicly opposed the laws as well saying that “gun control does not equate to lower crime rates.”
From the position paper:
The County Sheriffs of Colorado know first hand that strict gun control laws do not deter criminals from getting firearms illegally and committing crimes. Rather, they hurt law-abiding citizens who may be left unprotected because law enforcement cannot arrive in time to stop a criminal's bullet once he (sic) has pulled the trigger.
After Governor John Hickenlooper signed ammunition magazine limits and expanded background checks into law, more sheriffs began calling the laws "unenforceable."
“We can’t figure out how these laws would be enforced at this point in time without violating someone’s constitutional rights,” Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensminger told Bloomberg.
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke then took it a step further and said he wouldn't enforce the laws, arguing that they give a "false sense of security."
The proposed lawsuit against the gun restrictions will reportedly be handled by attorney Dave Kopel, an adjunct professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law and research director at the Independence Institute.
Kopel recently penned an Op-Ed in the National Review Online titled "Turning Gun Owners Into Felons," which takes aim at universal background checks.