Colorado’s elected sheriffs don’t have the standing to sue the state of Colorado to overturn controversial new gun control laws, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.
Most of the state’s 64 sheriffs spearheaded a lawsuit to overturn laws that went into effect July 1 limiting the size of ammunition magazines and requiring universal background checks, saying they violate the Second Amendment and that they are unenforceable.
But U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger in Denver said the sheriffs couldn’t sue the state as a group because they are elected officials.
“If individual sheriffs wish to protect individual rights or interests they may do so. However, the sheriffs have confused their individual rights and interests with those of the county sheriff’s office,” Krieger said, according to the Associated Press.
The ruling doesn’t prevent the case from moving forward, but requires the sheriffs to decide within 14 days if they wish to rejoin the suit as individuals.
Twenty-one other plaintiffs, including outdoor outfitters and gun supply businesses, are named in the suit.
Krieger also upheld an interpretation of the magazine limit law issued by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who is defending the state. The law bans ammunition magazines that are “readily convertible” to hold more than 15 rounds. Opponents have argued that includes practically all magazines, since most contain a removable base plate that can replaced with a converter to hold more rounds. Suthers’ “technical guidance” said such magazines won’t be considered illegal unless they’ve actually been converted to hold more ammo than the law allows.
Krieger upheld Suthers’ interpretation.
“We are pleased that the court recognized that many of the plaintiffs had no standing to bring this case and that our interpretation of the law is proper,” Suthers’ spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler told the AP.
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