DENVER–Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign three gun-control bills at a ceremony Wednesday, even a measure that critics say will turn magazine owners into criminals if they hand them to anyone else.
House Bill 1224 bans the sale and transfer of ammunition magazines holding or readily convertible to more than 15 rounds.
The measure, along with bills requiring gun owners to receive and pay for universal background checks, have passed the legislature and await the governor’s signature.
The free-market Independence Institute made a last-ditch effort Monday to dissuade the governor from signing H.B. 1224 by demonstrating how the measure will turn into criminals magazine owners who hand their magazines to another individual.
At a press conference Monday, Independence Institute vice-president Amy Oliver Cooke and women legislators, including state Rep. Lori Saine (R-Dacono) and state Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) took turns handing ammunition magazines to each other, an action that would become a criminal offense under the bill.
“We are now all guilty of having committed a crime simply because we did not maintain continuous possession of this magazine,” said Cooke.
Added Saine, “This is how easy it is to turn the average citizen, the average woman, into a criminal . . . And folks, that’s wrong. This is unenforceable.”
At least two Colorado sheriffs, Terry Maketa of Colorado Springs and Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, have indicated that they will not enforce the newly passed gun-control measures. The County Sheriffs of Colorado are considering a lawsuit against some of the measures.
“It’s really sad that the real professionals, our law enforcement officials, were not considered when writing this poorly drafted bill,” said Marble.
Lauren Chapin, spokeswoman for Coloradans for Gun Safety, called the demonstration a “press-conference stunt” in The Denver Post.
Democrats have argued that banning “large-capacity magazines”–described by Cooke as “standard capacity magazines”–will force mass shooters to pause and reload more frequently, giving standers-by more time to charge the shooter.
Democrats argue that the killer in the 2011 Tuscon, Ariz., massacre that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was stopped after he paused to reload. Critics counter that other shooters used handguns, such as the Oikos University gunman who killed seven in 2012, and argue that the bills will weaken public safety by disarming law-abiding citizens.
In a newly released video, Independence Institute president Jon Caldara reinforced the “only criminals hand their friends magazine” concept. He notes that “just about every magazine is readily convertible to one that holds more than 15 rounds.”
“If you have one of these on July 1, you can keep it, but only if it’s in, quote, ‘continuous possession,’” says Caldara. “What does that mean? It means this simple little action makes us both criminals as of July 1.”
Caldara proceeds to hand a magazine to Cooke. He goes on to say that handing someone a gun with a magazine for purposes of training them how to shoot, that’s also a criminal action under the bill.
“But it gets even better,” says Caldara. “It means you can sell your gun, with a good background check, but you just can’t sell it with your magazine.”
Without a magazine, what good is a gun? “It’s a paper weight,” says Caldara.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners also ramped up its veto campaign with a post on its Facebook page showing a photo of Hickenlooper with the caption, “Governor Gun-Grabber.”
Gun-rights advocates have launched an effort to convince Hickenlooper to veto H.B. 1224 after he said in a Feb. 27 post on Facebook that he plans to sign the bill.
Several news outlets, including the Associated Press and KDVR-TV in Denver, have reported that the governor plans to sign the bills Wednesday. There was no mention of the event as of Tuesday morning on the governor’s website or Facebook page.