Garfield County sheriff seeks commissioners’ support for gun lawsuit
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario will ask the county commissioners on Monday to lend their support to a lawsuit brought by he and 54 other Colorado county sheriffs opposing the state’s new gun laws.
Two bills passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper this spring are “vague, overreaching, unenforceable and unconstitutionally infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens,” reads a resolution that Vallario is scheduled to present at the regular Board of County Commissioners meeting.
A lawsuit brought by 55 of Colorado’s 62 elected county sheriff’s seeks a temporary or permanent injunction against House Bills 1224 and 1229, which went into law on July 1.
HB 1224 bans the possession or sale of ammunition magazines manufactured after that date, which can hold or can be converted to hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
However, “there is no way to determine either the date of manufacture or the manufacturer’s intent regarding convertability at the time of design,” the sheriffs’ lawsuit and the resolution both maintain.
Likewise, the new background check requirements and licensing procedures contained in HB 1229 “will severely restrict citizens rights to own, manufacture, sell or transfer firearms,” the draft resolution states.
Further, non-immediate family members who store and care for firearms belonging to deployed military personnel would be subjected to repeated background checks, the sheriffs contend.
The new background requirement also “places an unreasonable burden on owners of farms and ranches that operate as corporations and maintain corporate ownership of firearms to complete the background check process on each of their family members and employees,” the resolution also argues.
And, because fees for a federally licensed agent to review background check forms for accuracy are capped at $10, it could be difficult to find someone willing to provide the service, the sheriffs contend.
Vallario said citizens with disabilities, retired law enforcement personnel, licensed firearms dealers, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers have also joined in the lawsuit.
The resolution would also authorize the Garfield County attorney to help make a case that the new laws constitute an unfunded mandate.
The matter is second up on the morning work session agenda, which begins at 8 a.m. Monday at the Garfield County Administration Building in Glenwood Springs.
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