Federal judge upholds Colorado gun laws, dismisses lawsuit

DENVER Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:03pm EDT

1 of 2. A Bushmaster rifle belonging to Sandy Hook Elementary school gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut is seen after its recovery at the school in this police evidence photo released by the state's attorney's office November 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Connecticut Department of Justice/Handout via Reuters

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DENVER (Reuters) - A federal judge upheld gun laws on Thursday introduced by Colorado in the wake of deadly shooting rampages there and in Connecticut, dismissing a lawsuit brought by sheriffs, gun shops, outfitters and shooting ranges.

The two laws, passed in 2013 by Colorado's Democratic-controlled legislature with scant Republican support, banned ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds and required background checks for all private gun sales and transfers.

The bills were introduced in response to a shooting spree in 2012 that killed 12 people at a suburban Denver movie theater, and the slaying later that same year of 20 children and six adults at an elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

But they immediately met resistance from critics, including most of Colorado's elected sheriffs, who said they severely restricted citizens' constitutional right to own and bear arms.

Last year, voters recalled two key Democratic members of the legislature that approved the controversial measures.

After a two-week civil trial, U.S. District Chief Judge Marcia Krieger ruled the lawsuit lacked standing and said no evidence had been produced which showed limiting magazines to 15 rounds seriously diminished the ability to defend oneself.

"Of the many law enforcement officials called to testify, none were able to identify a single instance in which they were involved where a single civilian fired more than 15 shots in self defense," she said in her ruling.

Responding to complaints about expanded background checks, she said there were more than 600 firearms dealers in the state which actively perform private checks, and that it takes an average of less than 15 minutes for a check to be run by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who signed the bills into law, was named as the defendant in the lawsuit.

Colorado has seen two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. In addition to the 2012 theater shooting, it was the site of a 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, where two teenagers shot dead a teacher and 12 other students before committing suicide.

But it is also a state where gun ownership is treasured.

Colorado's Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, said his office never claimed the laws were "good, wise, or sound policy," but that it had fulfilled its responsibility to defend the constitutionality of the state law in question.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (6)
borisjimbo wrote:
To the radicals any slight narrowing of their right to shoot is far too much than they should have to bear.

Jun 26, 2014 11:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
pyradius wrote:
Look, in my 37 years I’ve never needed to own a gun (much less fire a weapon) but you just never know when you might find yourself surrounded by a violent, angry mob (or what about a zombie invasion?) where you will need more than 15 rounds of ammo per mag!

Jun 26, 2014 12:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
crowleykirk wrote:
I’m a gun owner. I’ve had a CA CCW. I’ve had the training. I support the 2nd Amendment 100%. But people are getting guns that should not have them. I don;t know the solution. We can’t predict who will go off their rocker. I’m all for strict guns laws and background checks.
If you’ve ever been held in a mental institute, you should not be allowed to buy a gun. If you are on anti-depresents for more than a year… ??? That’s a toughy. Each circumstance is different. They blame the guns when’s it’s really the parenting that is producing these crazy kids. And the parents ALWAYS know it. The blame is on society… not guns. Not having guns will not change the person that is intent on hurting others. It will just limit us law abiding citizens from possibly protecting ourselves. The crazies will always be crazy regardless. They will use whatever tool is necessary to inflict harm on others if that is their desire. I collect and shoot guns for fun, that is my main purpose. It’s a hobby I love and enjoy and have so for 45 years. I have yet to shoot anyone. But someone comes into my home to hurt me family…. I will defend myself. Look, we all want world peace… AINT’T gonna happen. Thank God for Heaven.
But while we are here… well, you better pull your head out of the sand… people want to hurt people and you better be preparred and trained.

Jun 27, 2014 10:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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