A group of Colorado Country Sheriffs filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Colorado [official website] on Saturday challenging two new gun control laws [HB 1224, PDF; HB 1229, PDF] passed earlier this year. The challenged laws, signed by Governor John Hickenlooper [JURIST report] in March, ban high capacity magazines, limiting them to a maximum capacity of 15, and establish a required universal background check for all sales and transfers of guns in the state. The sheriffs argue in their complaint that the laws violate their second amendment right to keep and bear arms, relying on the US Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller [opinion, PDF]. The complaint argues:
Under Heller, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of individual citizens to keep and bear commonly used firearms for all lawful purposes. The individual right to employ commonly-used firearms for selfdefense is "the central component" of the Second Amendment guarantee."The sheriffs asked the court to declare the two laws unconstitutional and to issue a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the laws. The state has 30 days to answer the complaint.
This is the latest development in the controversial topic of gun control [JURIST news archive] in the US. The challenged laws were passed [JURIST report] in March following the shooting [WSJ backgrounder] at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Last month, Maryland and Connecticut [JURIST reports] approved new gun control laws. In March, President Barack Obama urged [JURIST report] Congress to pass three bills which would require background checks for all private gun sales, renew a grant to improve schools security programs and make the act of buying a weapon for someone barred from owning one a federal crime. Also in March, US Attorney General Eric Holder spoke before Congress [JURIST report] urging passage of gun control measures, including universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines and military style assault weapons.