May 27, 2013

Colorado Governor – 2014

Over the past week the first round of political wrangling for the upcoming 2014 Colorado Colorado Governor's MansionGovernor’s race began. Of course the election is is 526 days away or 1 year, 5 months, 8 days till election day.

So far, announced candidates include –

Tom Tancredo

Matthew Hess, Libertarian candidate

Seeing as John Hickenlooper as the incumbent is presumed to be seeking a second term. The list of potential challengers include –

Bob Beauprez, former U.S. Representative, nominee for Governor in 2006

Greg Brophy, state Senator

Dan Caplis, radio host

Cory Gardner, U.S. Representative

Jennifer George, attorney

Cheri Gerou, state Representative

Scott Gessler, Secretary of State of Colorado

Mike Kopp, former state Senator

Victor Mitchell, former state Representative

Ellen Roberts, state Senator

Bob Schaffer, former U.S. Representative, candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004 and nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2008

Lang Sias, former Navy fighter pilot

Walker Stapleton, Colorado State Treasurer

John Suthers, Colorado Attorney General

The potential challenges list is lengthly and feeling embolden due to a number of issues. Most recently is Hickenloopers granting of a reprieve to mass murderer Nathan Dunlap. This latest issue adds fuel to the fire of the recently completed state legislative session which brought Second Amendment supporters to the state capital in droves. The governor signed, admittedly flawed legislation as outlined in his signing statement on Colorado House Bill 1224 –

 

In signing HB13-1224, we acknowledge that some have expressed concerns about the vagueness of the law’s definition of “large-capacity magazine.” By its terms, the law does make illegal any magazine manufactured or purchased after July 1, 2013, that is capable of accepting, or is designed to be readily converted to accept, more that 15 rounds of ammunition. Similar language is used in other states’ statutes limiting large-capacity magazines. We know that magazine manufacturers have produced and sell magazines that comply with these other state laws that limit large-capacity magazines and we are aware of no successful legal challenges to those laws. And when a Colorado-based magazine manufacturer came to us to share their concerns about the vagueness of the definition of “large-capacity magazine” contained in the original version of the bill, we worked with the bill’s sponsors to fine-tune the definition to make it more precise.

We also have heard concerns about the requirement in the law that a person who owns a large-capacity magazine prior to the law’s enactment may legally possess that magazine only as long as he or she “maintains continuous possession” of it. We do not believe a reasonable interpretation of the law means that a person must maintain continuous “physical” possession of these items. Responsible maintenance and handling of magazines obviously contemplates that gun owners may allow others to physically hold and handle them under appropriate circumstances. We are confident that law enforcement and the courts will interpret the statute so as to effectuate the lawful use and care of these devices.

In considering the language of HB13-1224, we have consulted with the Office of the Attorney General and we concur with its advice that the large-capacity magazine ban should be construed narrowly to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Second Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. We have signed HB13-1224 into law based on the understanding that it will be interpreted and applied narrowly and consistently with these important constitutional provisions.

To this end, today we are directing the Colorado Department of Public Safety to consult with the Office of the Attorney General and others, as necessary, with respect to the interpretation of HB13-1224’s large-capacity magazine ban, and then to draft and issue, to law enforcement agencies in the State of Colorado, technical guidance on how the law should be interpreted and enforced. This work should be done by July 1, 2013, the law’s effective date.

Also pending in the political mix is the recently filed federal civil rights lawsuit, filed by 50+ of the current Colorado Sheriff’s, challenging Colorado House Bills, 1224 and 1229.

It’s early in the political off year election season, so make sure you are using a pencil with a good eraser for your scorecard.

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