Colorado Ammunition Restrictions Law Amendment (2014)

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The Colorado Ammunition Restrictions Law Amendment will not appear on the 2014 statewide ballot in the state of Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, which was sponsored by the group "Put it to the People,"[1] would have declared that laws regarding any restrictions on "the purchase or possession of ammunition storage and feeding devices" could only be enacted by a vote of the people. It would have essentially nullified the ban on magazines that contain more than 15 rounds, which went into effect with the passage of House Bill 1224.[2][3]

A separate measure, which is attempting to repeal all gun legislation passed in 2013, may still appear on the ballot if it garners enough signatures. Additionally, a pro-gun control group is attempting to land a measure on the November ballot that would ban concealed weapons on college campuses.[4]

Background

On March 20, 2013, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1224 into law. The bill, which was sponsored in the general assembly by Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-42) and Sen. Mary Hodge (D-25), "prohibits the sale, transfer, or possession of an ammunition feeding device that is capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition or more than 5 shotgun shells (large-capacity magazine)." It also expanded background checks on those purchasing firearms. The law went into effect on July 1, 2013.[5][6][7]

The highly contested law came about, in part, as the result of mass shootings in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012 and in a grade school in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012.[7] Gun shop owners and Colorado sheriffs were outspoken opponents of the law. The sheriffs filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing ammunition magazines can be converted to hold more ammunition than the maximum number prescribed by the new law and it would be difficult for private citizens to comply with the expanded background checks.[7] The bill's success also triggered efforts to recall Sen. Angela Giron (D-3), Senate President John Morse (D-11) and Sen. Evie Hudak (D-19). Giron and Morse were successfully recalled, and Hudak chose to resign.[8][9]

Support

The measure was being supported by a group called "Put it to the People." Colorado resident Tim LeVier and his friend spearheaded the effort. LeVier said,

It’s a tough road to be on when you’re doing a volunteer initiative like this. 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.[10]

—Tim LeVier, [3]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado

On February 18, 2013, the House passed HB 1224 34 to 31. On March 11, 2013, the Senate passed HB 1224. Gov. Hickenlooper signed the bill into law on March 20, 2013.[6]

Colorado Gun Laws, HB 1224 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 34 52.3%
No3147.7%


Colorado Gun Laws, HB 1224 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 18 51.4%
No1748.6%

Supporters had to obtain at least 86,105 valid signatures by December 9, 2013 in order to place the measure on the ballot. In a December 9, 2013 post on Facebook, Put it to the People announced that they were far from reaching the necessary number of signatures.[11]

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