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Colorado Sen. Lois Tochtrop, left, listens as Sen. Kevin Lundberg, right, speaks at the podium during a debate period on a day of voting on gun control bills before the Colorado Legislature, at the State Capitol, in Denver, Friday March 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) Colorado Sen. Lois Tochtrop, left, listens as Sen. Kevin Lundberg, right, speaks at the podium during a debate period on a day of voting on gun control bills before the Colorado Legislature, at the State Capitol, in Denver, Friday March 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)  

Colorado’s magazine-limit bill further reaching than opponents imagined

Greg Campbell
Contributor

Colorado Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, whose bill to ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds ignited an ongoing firestorm of protest and which could cost the state jobs if a manufacturer of such equipment makes good on its promise to move to another state, didn’t realize that her bill would outlaw practically every magazine currently for sale in the state.

That’s because the bill specifies that magazines that can be “readily converted” to hold more than 15 bullets will also be outlawed.

Practically every magazine on the market can be easily converted with readily available extenders, as demonstrated in a video posted by John Caldera, the president of the libertarian Independence Institute.

Caldera demonstrates the ease with which the standard 15-round magazine for his Glock 19 pistol can be converted to hold 17 rounds by removing the base plate and installing the extender. Practically all magazines have removable base plates so that they can be cleaned.

Fields told 9News that she had no idea her bill would effectively ban nearly all magazines with removable base plates for which extenders are made.

“I’m just hearing about that now,” she told the news station. “Our focus was on the number of bullets you can put in a magazine.”

She said still supports the bill as drafted.

“I’m not envisioning changing that because of a little plate that you can pull out,” she said. “I’m hoping that people will just comply with the law.”

Even if she wanted to change the bill — for example, by specifying that magazines that have been converted are illegal, rather than the broader category of those that can be — it’s too late.

The bill has already passed the state legislature and awaits Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature.

If the bill becomes law, the ban will go into effect July 1. People who own such magazines by the deadline can keep them, but they cannot sell or transfer them to others, including to family members.

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