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Crime and Courts

Emboldened by recent court ruling, Colorado gun rights group sues again to overturn ban on large-capacity magazines

The president of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners says a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling has given it a “4-ton wrecking ball” that will tear down state gun restrictions

FILE - In this July 20, 2014, file photo, guns are displayed for sale at Dragonman's, an arms seller east of Colorado Springs, Colo. Republicans who have spent two years criticizing limits on the size of ammunition magazines will start advancing a repeal of the 2013 Colorado law passed by Democrats in response to mass shootings. A bill to strike the law is expected to pass a Republican-led Senate committee Monday, March 9, 2015. GOP lawmakers tried repealing the law last year, but Democrats controlled both legislative chambers and they rejected the proposal. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
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The legal arm for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is suing Gov. Jared Polis in federal court, ratcheting up their fight against gun restrictions after a judge last week temporarily blocked a Colorado town’s new gun control rules.

The National Foundation for Gun Rights filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver, challenging the constitutionality of the 2013 Standard Capacity Magazine Ban, which bans in Colorado the sale, transfer and possession of magazines capable of accepting more than 15 rounds. 

The lawsuit says the law should be overturned in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a New York law that had required people to show why they needed a concealed weapons permit. 

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The gun rights group’s latest legal move follows a lawsuit it filed against the Town of Superior last week over their magazine and semi-automatic rifle ban. In that case, a  judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Superior from enforcing parts of a new gun control ordinance, including a ban on the sale and possession of what it calls assault weapons, including semi-automatic rifles holding up to 100 rounds, “assault pistols” and high-capacity shotguns.  

“The early wins in Superior are a telltale sign of what is to come not only in Colorado but around the entire country,” Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said in a statement. “Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has been the leader in fighting the 2013 Mag Ban since its conception and we are proud to stand behind our members in this historic suit. Come hell or high water, we will restore the Second Amendment in Colorado through the courts and by repealing laws through the legislative process.” 

The governor’s office declined to comment on the latest lawsuit from RMGO, citing pending litigation. 

RMGO sued unsuccessfully to overturn the 15-round magazine ban in state court, with the Colorado Supreme Court in June 2020 rejecting the group’s arguments after a seven-year legal battle.

The Loveland-based group argues in its new federal lawsuit that Colorado’s bans on standard capacity magazines “flies directly in the face of the Second Amendment” for Coloradans who want to own these “commonly owned firearm accessories.” 

Dudley Brown, president of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said the Supreme Court ruling gave his organization a “4-ton wrecking ball to dismantle Colorado’s gun control laws,” in a written statement. 

“And we’re going to wipe out every unconstitutional law that stands in the way of law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights,” Brown said. 

Ben Gates and Travis Swartz, two Colorado residents listed as plaintiffs in the suit, are asking the court to strike down the magazine ban and restore their ability to purchase the banned magazines or give them away to family members, the lawsuit stated. 

The 2013 ban was enacted as part of a slate of gun control bills passed by the legislature in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting the year before. RMGO led the successful push to recall two Democratic state senators over their support for the measures. A third Democratic state senator resigned to avoid being recalled.

Superior is one of a handful of Colorado cities that have passed local gun control measures — an effort that would not have been possible before last year when state lawmakers passed a law that gives local governments the ability to pass gun ordinances that are more restrictive than state laws. 

In its ordinance, Superior officials pointed to Colorado’s “elevated levels” of mass shootings in 2020 and early 2021, when a mass shooter killed 10 people inside a King Soopers using an assault weapon and large-capacity magazine. 

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Here’s what you need to know about Democrats’ gun control bills introduced after the King Soopers shooting

Boulder is proposing five measures that would prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from buying a gun (up from 18), increase the waiting period before the purchase of a firearm from three to 10 days; prohibit the carrying of a weapon in sensitive public spaces, like county buildings, churches or bars; prohibit the sale and purchase of assault weapons; and an ordinance to regulate the possession of firearms without serial numbers. 

In June, Louisville city council members also passed six gun ordinances aimed at reducing gun violence.

The laws included a ban of the sale and possession of large-capacity magazine and semi-automatic and automatic weapons, prohibited open carrying of firearms in public places, and requirements for all firearm dealers to post signage where sales take place.

The laws went into effect July 12. 

In May, Denver leaders banned concealed-carry weapons in any building or portion of a building that is owned by or leased to the city, including at parks.


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