Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper admitted to a group of elected sheriffs that he only signed a bill limiting the size of ammunition magazines because one of his staff members promised its supporters that he would do so.
He made the admission during the same discussion in which he said another contentious bill requiring universal background checks was passed without having collected the “basic facts” on what the requirement would mean. (RELATED: Hickenlooper Admits Background Check Law Passed ‘Without Basic Facts’)
Hickenlooper told the sheriff’s association that his office didn’t think the bill limiting magazines to 15 rounds would pass the legislature, but once it did, he felt obligated to sign it into law because someone in his office had committed him to it.
“Once you give your word, or someone who works for you gives your word for you — someone who has the responsibility and the ability to do that — generally you try not to go back on that,” he said.
Hickenlooper didn’t identify the staff member, and his spokesman told the Denver Post he hadn’t been able to discuss it with the governor, who is in Mexico on an economic development trip.
The so-called high capacity magazine ban was arguably the most controversial law to come out of the divisive 2013 legislative session. Boulder County-based Magpul Industries, which manufactures such magazines, is moving out of the state in protest of the law. It also led to the historic recalls of two Democratic state senators, including the senate president, and the resignation of a third.
John Cooke, the Weld County Sheriff and one of the main critics of the new law, pointed out to Hickenlooper that there hasn’t been a single arrest under the new law.
“It just proves to me that it’s a worthless piece of legislation and it caused a lot of angst for no reason,” he said.
“I wouldn’t argue that,” Hickenlooper replied.
Cooke and most of Colorado’s other sheriffs have filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the magazine limit and the universal background check laws.
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