Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado signed gun-control laws today that are some of the toughest in the nation.
One law limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds; another requires universal background checks for gun sales or transfers; and a third requires gun customers to pay for the costs of the background checks.
Critics say the background checks will cripple private gun sales in the state.
The background checks will apply even to used firearms and require a fee. Critics say the fee is basically a tax.
Colorado now joins New York as the first states to pass laws restricting gun rights since the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and President Obama’s subsequent call for stricter measures.
As WND has reported, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said he and many other county sheriffs “won’t bother enforcing” the new laws in Colorado because they are unconstitutional and impossible to enforce.
He says the laws are “feel-good, knee-jerk reactions” and would “give a false sense of security.”
Cooke said he and other sheriffs are considering filing a lawsuit to block the laws.
Cooke is one of at least 340 sheriffs who have vowed to uphold the Constitution against gun-control measures that violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
The magazine law has prompted a Colorado gun-accessories manufacturer, Magpul, to make plans to leave the state.
“Our moving efforts are under way. It’s going to be a phased approach, and until the move is complete, we’re going to continue manufacturing magazines in Colorado,” Doug Smith, Magpul’s chief operating officer, told the Denver Post. “Within the next 30 days we will manufacture our first magazine outside the state of Colorado.”
Magpul estimates a move will cost hundreds of jobs and at least $85 million. Other states want Magpul’s business and those jobs.
Smith said he will meet with representatives from Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming in the next few weeks.
Pennsylvania would also like to land Magpul. That is considered unlikely, given the distance from Colorado. But two state lawmakers are inviting gun manufacturers in states passing laws restricting gun rights to move to Pennsylvania.
Republican state Reps. Seth Grove and Daryl Metcalfe announced they are reaching out to several out-of-state firearms makers, including Magpul, Beretta and Remington.
“We’ll be more than happy to have additional manufacturing,” Grove said. “Pennsylvania is known all over the country for clinging to its guns, and it’s time that we use this reputation to our advantage.”
Metcalfe said that with America’s largest per-capita representation of National Rifle Association members and more than 1 million licensed hunters and anglers, Pennsylvania “is a natural fit for any of our nation’s major producers of guns, ammunition or accessories that are currently looking for a new home.”
The Colorado laws were signed the same day the executive director of the state’s Corrections Department was shot and killed at his home. Investigators have not identified a suspect.
In the heated debate over the gun-control laws in the Colorado legislature, several Democratic lawmakers drew criticism for disregarding citizens who expressed concerned that the restrictions would impair their ability to defend themselves.
State Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, was on a committee hearing testimony from Amanda Collins, 27, of Reno, Nev., who explained an attack she suffered might have ended differently had she been carrying a concealed weapon.
Hudak promptly scolded Collins.
“I just want to say that, actually statistics are not on your side, even if you had a gun,” Hudak said. “And, chances are that if you would have had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you.”
Hudak continued, speaking over the committee witness, “The Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence says that for every one woman who used a handgun in self-defense, 83 here are killed by them.”
Finally able to resume her testimony, Collins said, “Senator, you weren’t there. I know without a doubt [the outcome would have been different with a gun].
“He already had a weapon,” she told the meeting of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. “He didn’t need mine.”
Hudak then voted to advance the bill.
Collins told the Post, which reported that Hudak later apologized, “I had a hard time falling asleep, because I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said to me.”
The senator’s remarks were “outrageous,” said Dave Kopel, a University of Denver Law School professor.
The author of a book on firearms law and policy, he said the senator revealed her “self-righteous, ignorant bigotry.”
Salazar’s statement came in a debate over a proposal to ban citizens possessing a concealed-carry permit from being armed on university campuses.
“It’s why we have call boxes,” said Salazar, “it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at.
“And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around, or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.”
At the time, the Denver Post reported that Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, on the opposite side of the gun debate from Salazar, said, “I guess, Rep. Salazar, if a woman doesn’t know she’s being raped, she doesn’t fear it.”
Salazar’s statement was caught on video:
It also was reported at Philly.com that the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ Department of Public Safety suggested women “tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating” to fend off an assault.
The threatened women also should be aware “vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone,” the school said.