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Colorado gun magazine bans clarified, lifted

By   /   July 11, 2013  /   No Comments

 AP photo

CONTROLLING GUN CONTROL: Some of the bite has been taken out of HB 1224, which was signed in March.

By Calvin Thompson | Colorado Watchdog

The Independence Institute on Tuesday achieved its first victories in a federal civil rights lawsuit, as restrictions that banned owning and lending common gun magazines were lifted.

Both sides of the court case — the more than 70 plaintiffs and Attorney General John Suthers — reached a compromise on the interpretation of House Bill 1224. One of three gun control bills being contested in the case, HB 1224 bans the sale of standard capacity ammunition magazines.

As Second Amendment activists pointed out, HB 1224 does more than just restrict the sale of magazines that can hold 15 rounds. It also restricts the sale and ownership of any magazine which can be “readily converted,” outlawing just about every widely available magazine if the law is strictly enforced.

Existing magazines have already been grandfathered in, but further language made it illegal to lend magazines to family members, or even leave them with a gunsmith for repair.

Now both these oversights have been addressed. Suthers agreed to issue new state guidance to law enforcement.

The first change states that magazines which can be “readily converted” are only illegal if they have been converted to hold more than 15 rounds. Coloradans are now free to partake in conventionally lawful activities with their grandfathered magazines as well, such as loaning them to family and friends. It is now illegal only if people sell or give away their magazines. However, this guidance is only binding for state agencies, and does not necessarily apply to local governments.

“The successful resolution of these issues was achieved by voluntary agreement with the Attorney General,” wrote Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, in a Wednesday announcement. “However, that agreement never would have happened without the pressure of the preliminary injunction motion which we filed on June 10, as well as our subsequent filings and briefs.”

The Independence Institute’s attorney, Dave Kopel, is still preparing a case to have the entirety of HB 1224 struck down in December. House Bill 1229, which creates new background check and paperwork requirements, will also be addressed.


Calvin formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.