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Colorado passes new gun laws but can it enforce them?

Yesterday Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a package of gun control bills, inspired in part by several tragic mass shootings in 2012. The state has now put several new restrictions on gun purchase and ownership in the state.

Under the new laws, the state will now require background checks for all gun sales, including private and online sales. In addition, the state now bans high-capacity ammunition magazines.

These measures may be lauded by gun control advocates but not everyone is happy with the new measures. Pro-gun Coloradoans may feel that their constitutional right to bear arms has been threatened. But they aren't the only ones with concerns about the legislation.

One Colorado sheriff has said he will not enforce the new laws in his county. Arguing that these laws were created in a hurry in order to respond to tragedies in the news, he called them "feel-good, knee jerk reactions that are unenforceable."

He has said it would be impossible for law enforcement officials to keep track of each gun owner's adherence to the new laws. He said a group of sheriffs may actually sue the state to block the new laws, perhaps prompting them to come up with regulations that are easier to enforce.

Colorado is in a unique position when it comes to gun control. The state has a heritage of wilderness, hunting and self-reliance, which all carry nostalgic ties to firearms, giving the pro-gun set ammunition for their arguments against gun control measures. However, Colorado has also seen more than its history of mass shootings, including the Columbine school shooting and last year's massacre at an Aurora movie theater. This dispute will likely be closely watched as Colorado continues to set the state for a national gun policy debate.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Colorado Sheriff Sys He Won't Enforce New Gun-Control Measures," March 17, 2013

To learn more about criminal charges in Colorado, please visit our website.

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