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Colorado revolt: 55 of 62 sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws

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**FILE** Richard Taylor, manager of at Firing-Line gun store in Aurora, Colo., displays June 27, 2013, some of the pistols that he won’t be able to sell after June 30 because their magazines hold more than 15 rounds. Limits on ammunition magazines and universal background checks, signature pieces of Colorado Democrats’ gun-control legislation in response to mass shootings, take effect July 1, even as county sheriffs fight to overturn the new laws. (Associated Press)

Fully 55 of the 62 sheriffs that serve in Colorado have outright refused to enforce the state’s new gun laws — the requirement for universal background checks and the ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

They say the laws are unconstitutional and too vague. The Daily Mail reported that Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County is one vocal opponent leading the rebel call, characterizing the laws as direct violations of Second Amendment rights.


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Officially, the sheriffs are characterizing the new laws as “very low priority” for enforcement, The Daily Mail said.

These are the same 55 sheriffs who, in May, tried to challenge the constitutionality of the state laws in a federal court. U.S. District Judge Marcia Kreiger told the sheriffs that they don’t have standing — or legal authority — to challenge the laws as a group.

But the legal challenge is far from ended. Twenty-one other plaintiffs who do have standing are continuing their suit, The Daily Mail reported. These plaintiffs are not affiliated with any government agency, but rather individuals or members of private gun groups.

It’s not yet clear whether the sheriffs will join the suit on an individual basis.

“If individual sheriffs wish to protect individual rights or interests, they may do so,” Ms. Krieger said, The Daily Mail reported. “However, the sheriffs have confused their individual rights and interests with those of the county sheriff’s office.”

About the Author

Cheryl K. Chumley

Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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