Guns and Gear

Group pushes to nullify magazine limits through constitutional amendment

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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Tim LeVier is spearheading an effort to gather signatures to amend the Colorado constitution with language that would nullify a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

The ban went into effect on July 1 and has been one of the most controversial new laws to come out of the Democratic-controlled state legislature during the last session. It led not only to the recalls but also to a lawsuit by most of the state’s elected county sheriffs and the exodus of businesses that manufacture accessories for firearms.

The signature-gathering effort is going slowly, LeVier said in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. He and a friend are leading the movement and both are fathers with young children and full-time jobs. And they can’t afford to pay professional canvassers to collect signatures, he said.

Their group — called “Put it to the People” — has until December to get 86,105 valid signatures for the measure to appear on the 2014 ballot. He said they’ve gathered about 15 percent of what’s needed.

“It’s a tough road to be on when you’re doing a volunteer initiative like this,” he said. “We don’t have any funds to pay for petitioning. … [The petitions are] in a lot of firearms-related stores throughout the state. That’s really our primary focus, being in as many accessible places as possible.”

“The real trick is getting people off the couch and into a supportive role,” he said.

The proposed amendment would specify that there can be no limits or restrictions on the capacity of ammunition magazines without a vote of the people.

“No law, except a law enacted by a vote of the people, shall restrict or limit the right of the people to purchase or possess ammunition storage and feeding devices of any capacity,” the language reads.

LeVier said he wanted to do an amendment rather than a straight repeal in order to avoid giving the state legislature another chance to pass a similar law. If passed, the amendment will nullify the ban.

Despite the low-key nature of the initiative, LeVier said he doesn’t feel overshadowed by the efforts to oust Morse and Giron. If anything, he said, the recalls have kept the gun control issue front and center for voters.

He said some of the organizations behind the recalls have promised to help spread the word about the initiative once the elections are held on Sept. 10.

LeVier stressed that the entire effort is 100 percent grassroots. He hasn’t received any money from gun organizations or lobbying groups, he said, and has only gotten about $3,000 in individual donations. Those funds were used to print the petitions.

“We’re just two citizens who decided to do this,” he said. “We don’t have endless hours to work on this, so when we say ‘grassroots,’ we really mean very much volunteer based.”

Part of that volunteerism comes in explaining exactly what the amendment will do, he said. Strict Second Amendment advocates sometimes bristle at the proposal, he said, because it allows for restrictions on magazine size, so long as those restrictions are voted on.

LeVier said he chose the wording because the courts have held that states have a right to impose reasonable restrictions on some rights.

“What we do is see the higher ground there and try not to create an absolute right that butts into the state’s police power duty,” he said. “We allow restrictions but we need to ask the voters if those restrictions are necessary or in their favor.”

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