- Oct 29, 2011
Colorado Sheriff refuses to enforce gun-control bills
GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado sheriff says he won't enforce two aggressive gun-control measures waiting to be signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke told The Greeley Tribune (Cooke won’t enforce new state gun laws | GreeleyTribune.com ) that Democratic lawmakers are scrambling after recent mass shootings, and the bills are "feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable."
One bill expands background checks on firearm purchases, and the other limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. The 15-round magazine limit would make Colorado the first state outside the East Coast to ratchet back gun rights after last year's shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn.
Colorado's gun-control debates have been closely watched because of the state's gun-loving frontier heritage and painful history of mass shootings, most recently last summer's movie theater shooting that killed 12.
The sheriff said he "won't bother enforcing" the laws because it would be impossible for officers to keep track of how the requirements are being met by gun owners — and he and other sheriffs are considering suing the state to block the measures if they are signed into law.
Cooke said the bill passed Friday requiring a $10 background check to legally transfer a gun wouldn't keep firearms out of the hands of those who use them for violence.
"Criminals are still going to get their guns," he said.
The sheriff's office did not immediately return calls left by The Associated Press.
The magazine-limit bill passed earlier in the week will technically ban all magazines because of a provision that outlaws any magazine that can be altered, he said, adding that all magazines can be altered to a higher capacity.
Expanded checks have been a top priority for Hickenlooper, who called for the proposal during his State of the State address in January.
Cooke oversees law enforcement in Colorado's third-largest county by area. His jurisdiction includes its largest city, Greeley, and large swaths of farmland and areas of oil and gas production.
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