“Over? Did you say it’s ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain’t over now!” – John Blutarsky
On Wednesday, only hours after Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed three anti-Second Amendment bills into law, the Independence Institute announced that it will lead the civil rights lawsuit against the unconstitutional laws.
Independence Institute President Jon Caldara said, “I have said for years that Colorado is the national test case to turn a freedom-loving western state into a repressive-progressive stronghold. Colorado citizens this week learned the hard way that elections have consequences. Our Governor put us on the path to become California.”
Caldara went on to say, “But I guarantee you, this fight has just begun. We at Independence love Colorado and love liberty too much to just sit back and watch in dismay.”
The lawsuit will be based on the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, among other grounds. The lawsuit will be brought on behalf of a large coalition of local and national law enforcement, including many of the Sheriffs who opposed the bills, disability rights organizations, gun safety organizations, civil rights organizations, and others.
Lead attorney in the lawsuit will be Independence Institute Research Director Dave Kopel, who is also a Denver University Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law. Kopel served on the U.S. Supreme Court oral argument team which won the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller. His briefs and scholarship have been cited by Justices Alito, Breyer, and Stevens, and by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, among others.
Independence Institute was the lead voice educating policy makers and the Governor of the dangers and sloppiness of these bills. Independence Institute scholars urged the Governor to veto the bills and encouraged the Governor to send them back to the legislature for re-drafting. Dave Kopel informed the Governor that the magazine ban was not only miswritten, but also contained numerous constitutional problems, even beyond the core Second Amendment issue.
The Governor and legislature ignored the legal advice of the Independence Institute and signed the bills into law. He and the legislature also disregarded the tens of thousands of emails, phone calls and letters from Coloradans opposing these bills. Elected officials instead listened to Mayor Bloomberg and Joe Biden, who personally called many of the legislators.
Independence Institute President Jon Caldara stated: “It’s apparent that national anti-gun interests have more influence in Colorado than we citizens. Now the sale or transfer of nearly every gun magazine in Colorado will be a crime because almost every single magazine is ‘readily convertible’ to hold more than 15 rounds.”
Caldara also pointed out that the must “maintain continuous possession” clause to grandfather in previously owned magazines will prohibit parents from teaching their children how to responsibly fire a gun if the magazine is readily convertible or holds more than 15 rounds.
Caldara’s brother Paul, a volunteer gun range officer, will no longer be able to assist a student on the range with a malfunctioning gun. He will have to choose between keeping the gun range safe or becoming a criminal. Husbands cannot lend their guns with an original magazine to their own wives.
All 62 County Sheriffs vigorously opposed these bills. Many say that they won’t enforce them when they become law because they cannot be enforced and they are unconstitutional. Sheriffs have a duty to uphold the law, so first and foremost they must obey the Constitution, which supersedes anti-constitutional statutes passed by a legislature.
The Independence Institute projects a long and expensive legal battle. Caldara remarked, “We are honored to fight for Freedom, to fight for Colorado. We are honored to fight for you.”
The Independence Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization based in Denver, Colo.