I wanted to give you an update on how our lawsuit against the new anti-gun bills is going. We are pleased to announce that we’ve had a couple major victories on two of worst aspects of the bills: “continuous possession” and “readily convertible.” See the video below to hear some more details. To keep up with the technical details of the case, visit ColoradoGunCase.org.
Archive for the 'U.S. Constitution' Category
Today the Independence Institute’s federal civil rights lawsuit achieved its first major success, eliminating the problems that were caused by two vague phrases in House Bill 1224, the magazine ban.
The Independence Institute’s David Kopel is representing 55 elected Sheriffs and one retired police officer in lawsuit against the new anti-gun laws signed by Governor Hickenlooper last March.
Tuesday night, on the eve of a federal court hearing, the plaintiffs and the Colorado Attorney General agreed on proposal to fix two problems the magazine ban.
First, the magazine ban applies to magazines which are “designed to be readily converted” to hold more than 15 rounds. This could outlaw some or all magazines which have removable base plates; if a base plate is removed, an extender can be attached to a magazine that will increase the magazine’s capacity.
The Attorney General agreed to issue new guidance to state law enforcement that will remedy this problem. The new language says that magazines with removable base plates are only illegal if they have actually been altered so that they do hold more than 15 rounds. “Unless so altered, they are not prohibited.”
The second problem, which has also been fixed, was that House Bill 1224 required the grandfathered owners of magazines to maintain “continuous possession.” This outlawed many innocent and constitutionally protected activities, such as leaving magazine for a gunsmith for two weeks while it is repaired, or loaning a magazine to a family member.
The Attorney General agreed to fix this problem by issuing additional guidance to law enforcement, stating that: “‘Continuous possession’ is only lost by a voluntary relinquishment of dominion and control.” “Dominion” is a legal term for the highest level of ownership rights. So if you loan your magazine to your daughter for a week, and she does not have the right to sell the magazine, then you still have “dominion.”
The practical result of the new language is that owners of grandfathered magazines can now engage in all lawful activities with those magazines, including loaning them to friends and family. The grandfathered owners simply may not sell the magazines, or give away ownership.
For the Sheriffs, this means that they can now return a stolen magazine to its rightful owner.
The successful resolution of these issues was achieved by voluntary agreement with the Attorney General. However, that agreement never would have happened without the pressure of the preliminary injunction motion which we filed on June 10, as well as our subsequent filings and briefs.
Because the Attorney General did, ultimately, voluntarily agree to put these changes into Technical Guidance which is binding on the executive branch of the state government, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger decided that it would be unnecessary for her to issue an injunction.
With these two issues now resolved, we are beginning preparation for a full trial on the merits. The trial will be our challenge to the entirety of the unconstitutional anti-gun laws:
- House Bill 1224 bans the sale of magazines holding more than 15 rounds. We will argue and present evidence that this violates the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. The Heller decision forbids bans on arms which are “Typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” We will show magazines of up to 20 rounds for handguns, and up to 30 rounds for rifles, are standard for many popular firearms, and thus protected under Heller.
- House Bill 1229 imposes paperwork, fee, and background check requirements on many ordinary uses of guns–such as loaning a gun to a friend for a week when he goes on a hunting trip. We will argue and present evidence that it is unconstitutional to treat temporary firearms loans as if they were firearms sales made by a gun store.
Today’s success shows that our legal strategy is working. We have removed the problems of two badly misdrafted provisions in the magazine ban. If we have the proper resources to take the rest of the case to a full trial on the merits, we are hopeful that we can liberate Colorado entirely from House Bills 1224 and 1229, which are unconstitutional and harmful to public safety.
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This is just the first victory in a looooong fight. We need your help. Please donate to help us fight this battle HERE. Thank you all so much.
Rob Natelson, our Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, was just cited in the U.S. Supreme Court. In June, Justice Thomas cited Rob’s work by name 12 times in two separate cases — an exceedingly rare honor for a legal scholar. This month, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy published Rob’s short article on the constitutional amendment process. As its name suggests, the Harvard Journal is one of the nation’s most prestigious law reviews. The same journal has agreed to publish Rob’s ground-breaking article on the original meaning of the Recess Appointments Clause — a section of the Constitution now front and center in the debate over President Obama’s practice of appointing officials without the Senate approval.
Rob also is in increasing demand as a speaker. On June 14, he keynoted a national program in Colorado Springs for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. In July, he’s presenting several programs in Montana. And in August, he’ll give addresses on the Constitution to two national organizations of state lawmakers—the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council and the more liberally-leaning National Conference of State Legislatures. Rob also regularly gives talks for Colorado citizens’ groups and is a regular on two Colorado radio shows and one in Montana.
If you didn’t make our sold out event in Colorado Springs on May 28th, we have the entire video here for you:
We’ve been all over this beautiful state on our antiques road show Colorado and the Second Amendment road show featuring lead attorney and Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel and various sheriffs. However, there are two more locations we’ve just added to our list: Morgan and Douglas Counties.
So far we’ve sold out every place we’ve been, so don’t wait to RSVP online!
Our Second Amendment event last week in Colorado Springs was a HUGE success. We were surprised how enthusiastic the crowd was to hear Dave Kopel and company (sheriffs) discuss gun rights in Colorado and why we’re suing the state. We had such big turnouts at both our Denver and Colorado Springs events, we decided to take the show on the road. After all, our lawsuit addresses the anti-gun bills that hold firearms and magazines hostage throughout the entire state. It’s only appropriate that we hear from folks outside the Denver and front range area.
First up, next Wednesday, June 12th we will be in Glenwood Springs to hear from the good folks in Garfield County (flyer here for details). This night out will feature Dave Kopel and three county sheriffs – Garfield’s Lou Vallario, Weld’s John Cooke, and Larimer’s Justin Smith – presenting on the Second Amendment in Colorado and our fight against the new anti-gun bills. It’s only $5 to attend and you can sign up online or by calling us at 303-279-6536.
After Glenwood Springs, we’ll be heading to Delta County the next day in an event featuring Kopel and Larimer Sheriff Justin Smith, plus a couple new faces – Delta Sheriff Fred McKee and Montrose Sheriff Rick Dunlap. That’s Thursday, June 13th at the Delta County Center for Performing Arts and Education. For details, see the flyer here. You can purchase tickets and RSVP online here or give us a call at 303-279-6536.
That’s Glenwood Springs on Wednesday, June 12th and Delta on Thursday the 13th. Don’t miss these events!
I wouldn’t wait too long to purchase tickets. There are many more people interested than are seats available. RSVP today!
We filed suit against the unconstitutional gun laws today.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
A couple of hours ago the lobby of our Independence Institute building, affectionately known as the Freedom Embassy, was overflowing with microphones, cameras, and news reporters for the announcement that our lawsuit has been filed against the unconstitutional new gun bills. Quite literally, reporters were spilling out of our front door.
Sheriffs, representing the 54 elected sheriffs across Colorado, disabled gun owners, women for concealed carry, and the Colorado Farm Bureau all spoke on why they are plaintiffs in this landmark case.
You can see the press conference in its entirety below. Please take at least a few minutes to witness the passion behind our plaintiffs and listen to their reasons for challenging the State of Colorado. These are the people that make me so very proud to be a Coloradan. They are the spirit of Colorado.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone wrote a short essay about the right to keep and bear arms and its opposition in America? Perhaps something of similar length and persuasion as Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” or the Federalist Papers?
Well, our resident Second Amendment scholar, historian, and law professor Dave Kopel did just that for Encounter Books. In his latest book appropriately titled, “The Truth About Gun Control,” Dave gives the reader a foundation for why the right to keep and bear arms is important, who fought this inherent right and why, and what’s at stake today from the likes of Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama. As Dave says, the book is meant to be read in one sitting. Or as I like to say, the book can be read to me in one sitting.
If you’d like to hear more about the book, check out this iVoices.org podcast. He and Justin go into more detail about the book and why it’s an important piece in today’s fight against the gun control machine.
If reading the book and listening to the podcast don’t entirely whet your appetite, I may have just the thing for you. On Tuesday, May 14th, we are holding a book signing and presentation with Dave here at the Freedom Embassy. Admission is FREE, but you must RSVP online or by phone at 303-279-6536. For more information, visit our Facebook page here.
The media correctly portrayed Wednesday’s Senate vote against broad background checks as an enormous defeat for the anti-gun movement, and for President Obama, as he put so much of his political capital into it. His decisive defeat significantly weakens him on every other issue.
What might not be as well known is that the Independence Institute was a key player in this success.
We were the only organization to put out a detailed explanation of how Senator Schumer’s background check bill would’ve turned almost every American gun owner into a felon, because it applies not only to gun sales, but also temporary transfers, like lending your shotgun to a friend or family member.
When the gun control lobby realized they couldn’t pass Schumer’s background check, they then proposed the Manchin-Toomey substitute. It was drafted secretly and hastily, and the plan was to rush it through the Senate. Our Second Amendment scholar, David Kopel, spent long & late nights writing articles on Volokh.com and National Review Online explaining how poorly written it was, making it full of unintended consequences. For example, it supposedly outlawed federal gun registration, but when you look carefully at the statutory language, it actually legalized one form of federal gun registration which is currently illegal.
Kopel’s work helped the Senate see that these bills, which were supposedly just about background checks on sales, were actually laden with many other anti gun provisions.
We were there from the very beginning of this fight. According to Senate aides, Kopel’s testimony before the Judicial Committee on January 30 was crucial in stopping a federal ban on so-called “assault weapons.” And from the very moment President Obama began using the horrible murders in Newtown as pretext to crack down on law abiding gun owners, Kopel was in the national media providing the facts and promoting genuine reforms which would actually help public safety.
Joe Biden lobbied hard here in Colorado to pass a litany of anti gun bills on the state level, which were intended to set the stage for a national ban. Kopel’s expert testimony in the state legislature, along with our broad outreach in social media and on YouTube, helped lead to the defeat of two of the worst bills: the ban on licensed carry on college campuses and the bill allowing lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Our work also helped make the bills that did pass significantly less bad than they were to start with.
For the anti-gun movement, Colorado was supposed to be an easy victory leading them to victories elsewhere. Instead they paid a HUGE price for their limited victories in Colorado, and that price will escalate significantly as we provide pro bono representation to Colorado Sheriffs as we lead the legal fight to declare these bills unconstitutional.
Join us for a book signing with our Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel on Tuesday, May 14th. He will be giving a presentation on his new book, “The Truth About Gun Control,” and signing copies following the Q and A. For more details and to RSVP, please go here.
We fight for Freedom with a long-term battle plan that works. These victories are even more proof. Thank you for being a part of it.
Independence Institute friend and long-time contributor Ari Armstrong shot this video of Constitution scholar Rob Natelson speaking in Grand Junction on gun rights, the Second Amendment, and Colorado’s new gun controls. We can’t thank Ari enough for shooting, editing, and posting the video.
And here is the whole 34 minute speech.