The Board of El Paso County Commissioners during its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 unanimously approved a Resolution supporting a lawsuit filed by 55 of Colorado’s 62 Elected County Sheriff’s and other citizens and groups seeking to overturn two recently signed Colorado firearms laws. The Resolution states that the Sheriff’s have determined that, “House Bill 1224 and House Bill 1229 are vague, overreaching, unenforceable and unreasonably restrict the constitutionally guaranteed rights of law abiding citizens as outlined in the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
See Resolution Below...
Included in the Board’s action is official direction, “that where legally proper, the County Attorney Staff is directed to assist in protecting the interests of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of the County in avoiding the unfunded mandates created by these new laws by filing amicus briefs designed to assist the Court.” County Attorney Amy Folsom told Commissioners that her office is researching all of the information provided in the lawsuit to determine if it provide additional information which could helpful as the court considers the request for a permanent injunction against enforcement of the two new laws.
“This absolutely impacts all of our constituents,” said Commissioner Amy Lathen, in presenting the Resolution. “We take actions in order to protect and uphold the Constitution and to represent our constituents.” Sheriff Terry Maketa said, “What these bills are being represented to be is misleading to the public which is why I have been so committed to getting the word out and I appreciate the Board taking action on this today.” Maketa continued, “There is so much misinformation about these bills. Not a week passes where I don’t have somebody ask me why I have problem with background checks on firearm sales, but really these bills go far beyond that,” Maketa explained. “I think we have an obligation to take this to the courts and seek clarification and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
Commissioner Darryl Glenn agreed, “We have a Constitutional obligation to take action. We get criticized sometimes for the Resolutions and Proclamations we put forward but we have the responsibility since we are statutorily obligated to make sure to speak up so good laws are adopted. We have a role in that process and we were denied that opportunity here,” Glenn concluded.
Resolution in Support of Litigation to Overturn
Vague and Unenforceable Firearms Laws
WHEREAS, Colorado lawmakers during the first regular session of the 69th General Assembly adopted several bills which severely restrict citizens’ rights to own, manufacture, sell or transfer firearms and firearms accessories; and
WHEREAS, Fifty-five of Colorado’s 62 elected County Sheriffs, including El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, have determined that two of these bills, specifically, known as House Bill 1224, and House Bill 1229, are vague, overreaching, unenforceable and unreasonably restrict the constitutionally guaranteed rights of law abiding citizens as outlined in the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 1224 imposes a ban on the ownership, sale or transfer of ammunition magazines manufactured after June 1, 2013 which hold or were designed to be adaptable to hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition, although there is no way to determine either the date of manufacture or the manufacturer’s intent with regards to adaptability at the time of design; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 1229 requires private buyers and sellers of firearms to complete all transactions through a Federal Firearms Licensed Agent (FFLA) and extends the mandatory background check process beyond ordinary sales to include all temporary transfers beyond 72 hours, including the requirement that non-immediate family members who store and care for firearms belonging to deployed military personnel go through the background check process every 30 days; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 1229 also places an unreasonable burden on the owners of farms and ranches which operate as corporations and maintain corporate ownership of firearms, to complete the background check process on each of their employees every 30 days; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 1229 requires Federal Licensed Firearms Agents participating in private sales transactions to complete and file all required background check forms and also holds such licensed agents responsible for the accuracy of all information provided on such forms while capping the fee they can charge for this service to $10.00, thereby increasing the risk that law abiding citizens will be unable to find Federal Licensed Agents willing to provide this service; and
WHEREAS, There is no empirical evidence to support the assertion that these laws will prevent violent crime while there is clear evidence that they represent a great infringement on the rights and security of law abiding citizens as guaranteed in both the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, Fifty-five County Sheriffs of Colorado have filed a lawsuit seeking temporary and permanent injunctions against these vague, overreaching, unenforceable and dangerous laws and have been joined in their lawsuit by citizens with disabilities, licensed firearms dealers, firearms manufacturers, farmers and ranchers, retired law enforcement personnel and the National Sports Shooting Foundation; and
WHEREAS, The Board of County Commissioners has long been on record in vigorous support of law abiding El Paso County citizens’ rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, most recently restated and affirmed by official resolution in January of this year;
WHEREAS, The Board of County Commissioners supports common sense, limited government policies, and the protection of individual liberties and has previously voiced its opposition to these aforementioned ill-conceived and ineffective measures which will diminish the ability of law abiding El Paso County citizens to protect themselves, as specifically defined in the Constitution, in direct conflict with the Board’s responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens they were elected to serve;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners hereby endorses and supports the efforts of the aforementioned County Sheriffs and others in the filing of a lawsuit seeking temporary and permanent injunctions against these two vague, overreaching and unenforceable laws which impose unconstitutional restrictions on citizens’ rights and unworkable, unfunded and expensive mandates on County Sheriffs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOVED, that, where legally proper, County Attorney staff is directed to assist in protecting the interests of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of the County in avoiding the unfunded mandates created by these new laws by filing amicus briefs designed to assist the Court.
DONE THIS 28th day of May, 2013 at Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Contact: Dave Rose
Public Information Officer