Colorado’s largest gun rights group sues to overturn new laws

Capitalizing on the momentum of Colorado’s historic recalls of pro-gun-control Democratic legislators last week, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is suing the state to overturn two new gun laws that were at the heart of the recall elections.

“First, we beat the gun-grabbers at the ballot box last week in the recall elections,” wrote RMGO director Dudley Brown in a fundraising appeal on the group’s website. “Now, we’re going to beat them in court.”

“As you may know, lawyers are not cheap, and this is bound to be an expensive protracted legal struggle,” Brown wrote. “If we are going to win, we can’t afford to hold anything back — especially with our constitutional rights at stake.”

In the crosshairs are laws that limit the size of ammunition magazines to no more than 15 rounds and one requiring universal background checks on all gun transfers.

“These laws overreach so many constitutional barriers it’s not even funny,” Brown wrote. “That’s why we need your help to put a stop to this ban.”

Despite the historic ouster of former Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron on Sept. 10, the recalls didn’t tip the balance of power at the state capital. Although Republicans have gained two state senate seats, Democrats still hold a majority in both chambers — albeit only by one seat in the senate — and control the governor’s office.

That means that bills to repeal the laws, which some Republicans already have in the works, aren’t likely to succeed.

This is the second lawsuit aimed at the new laws. Another was filed in May, led on the plaintiff’s side by 55 of Colorado’s 62 elected county sheriffs.

The new lawsuit names Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as the sole defendant, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. It’s scheduled for a review hearing on Monday.

Hickenlooper’s office declined to comment to the Gazette, with a spokesman saying he’s focused on flood relief.

Republicans and gun lobbyists aren’t the only ones who think the state legislature went too far in using its Democratic majority to pass sweeping gun control bills. Even former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean said he thought his party overreached.

“I do think that’s a warning shot,” he said of the recall elections while in Denver for an event Wednesday. “I think there’s probably a little overreach on the part of the legislature.”

He said Democrats should have “thought a little more carefully” about the laws they supported, the Denver Post reports Dean saying.

The lawsuits are just two efforts to see the new gun laws overturned. The grassroots groups behind the recall campaigns are also polling legislators and potential candidates to gauge their willingness to repeal the laws or support a citizen’s initiative to overturn them at the ballot box.

What’s clear is that even though Morse and Giron have been sent back to civilian life, the laws that kicked them out of office will continue to be debated for many months.

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