GLENDALE–Call it the ammo amendment: Organizers began circulating petitions Saturday for a proposed Colorado constitutional amendment that would require voters to approve any restrictions on ammunition-magazine capacity.
Volunteers for Put it to the People, the petition group, collected more than 1,000 signatures at Saturday’s Free Colorado festival at Infinity Park.
The group needs to turn in 86,105 valid signatures by Dec. 28 to place the measure on the November 2014 ballot.
So far the group plans to use volunteers only to circulate petitions, instead of paid signature-gatherers. The goal is to collect 124,000 signatures, said organizer Tim LeVier.
“It’s too early to tell our chances, but we think we can succeed,” said LeVier in an email. “There’s a lot of people out there that are excited about ensuring that we have a vote if the legislature should attempt to limit magazines again in the future.”
The amendment effort comes as the latest example of the backlash against the state legislature’s push to restrict access to firearms and ammunition in the wake of two 2012 mass shootings, including the Aurora theater shooting that left 12 dead.
Three gun-control measures become law today, including House Bill 1224, which prohibits the sale or transfer of ammunition magazines containing more than 15 rounds. The bill is also the subject of a lawsuit filed by 55 of the state’s 62 county sheriffs.
The proposed amendment reads: “No law, except a law enacted by the vote of the people, shall limit or restrict the right of the people to purchase or possess ammunition storage and feeding devices of any capacity.”
Organizers submitted petition language in March, but they wound up in a court battle after two men, including a leader of Hunters Against Gun Violence, challenged the petition language, calling it “ambiguous” and “misleading.”
The tussle wound up going to the Colorado Supreme Court, which affirmed the title board’s decision in a June 7 ruling.
Representing the challengers was Democratic attorney Mark Grueskin, according to the Colorado Statesman, who is also serving as the legal muscle for groups challenging the recalls of state Sens. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) and John Morse (D-Colorado Springs).
Meanwhile, Put it to the People has all the earmarks of a grassroots effort, collecting $2,230 in contributions as of April 15, according to the group’s financial-disclosure report.
The effort is garnering support from critics of H.B. 1224, but organizers are quick to point out that the proposed amendment is not designed specifically to repeal the magazine bill.
“It’s never clear what the full effect of a law like this will be, but because we don’t have any ‘repeal’ language, it may not have any effect on these current laws,” said Put it to the People in a Facebook post. “What is certain is that it will protect against future laws. So, if the sheriffs are successful with their lawsuit, the legislature won’t be given a ‘do-over.’”