Pawn shops caught in the middle of Colorado’s new magazine ban

One day into the Colorado ban on magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition, pawn shop owners have discovered the first unintended consequence of the new law — people who’ve pawned weapons with now-outlawed 30-round magazines can’t get the magazines back, even if they pay off their pawnshop loans.

Under Colorado law, when customers pawn items, they transfer ownership to the pawn broker in exchange for the right of first refusal to buy them back under the terms of the pawn agreement.

As of Monday, it’s illegal to buy magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, leaving some pawn brokers with dozens of magazines that they can’t sell or give away — or return to their original owners.

Rod Brandenburg, who owns Grandpa’s Pawn and Gun told the Longmont Times-Call that he has about 50 to 100 of the banned magazines that he’d been trying to return to their owners before Monday’s deadline, telling them to pay off their loans or bring something else of value to replace them with.

For those he couldn’t reach, or who couldn’t make the switch in time, he can only tell them one thing: “No, you can’t have your magazine back.”

Brandenburg told the paper that the dilemma created by the new law is forcing him to violate the contract between him and his customers, adding that he’s meeting with his local sheriff on Tuesday for advice on what to do.

“The most aggravating issue to me is that we have received no training, no instruction” in how to deal with the new law, he said.

Had he been located in nearby Weld County, he might have been tempted to just ignore the new law. At a rally Saturday held to protest the new laws, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke told thousands of attendees that he didn’t intend to enforce the new law because “it’s unenforceable.”

Despite the aggravation, there may be hope on the horizon for Brandenburg and his customers. Cooke and 54 other elected county sheriffs are suing the state to overturn the magazine capacity limit and a law requiring universal background checks for all gun transfers.

A hearing is scheduled for July 10 at which the plaintiffs will seek an injunction against the laws, meaning they will be suspended until the lawsuit is settled.

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