March 14, 2013

An Open Letter To Governor Hickenlooper

If y'all would be so kind, as many of you as possible please pass this on to Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. This is the contact form for his office email. This should be his email address: His office phone number is (303) 866-2471 This is his facebook page. Either pass on the link or copy and paste the text along with the link ( and send it to him. And be sure to tell him that you want him to veto HB13-1224, HB13-1228, HB13-1043 (The magazine capacity bill, the background check tax bill, and a bill that changes the definition of a deadly weapon to include any firearm even when not being used).

Mr. Hickenlooper,
HB13-1224 will be sent to you for your signature. I know you're inclined to sign it into law, or possibly just let it sit and become law on its own. But there are a few serious legal problems with this bill that make it unwise to enact. I've covered these in detail in this post. ( I'll go over the highlights here.

The bill does not exempt common carriers unless they are transporting magazines manufactured within Colorado. This means a carrier that is passing through Colorado, or is delivering to an exempted entity, such as the CBI would commit a crime by transporting magazines that hold or could readily be converted to hold more than 15 rounds.

This creates a conflict with the federal constitution's interstate commerce clause, since the effect of this bill would be to hamper interstate commerce.

To spell it out, if a truck driver, train conductor or cargo pilot left Kansas with a shipment of magazines that held or could be readily converted to hold more than 15 rounds, he/she would break the law upon entering the state, even if his/her destination was Wyoming or Nevada and he/she did not stop within Colorado.

A shipment of 20 round magazines from out of state could not be delivered to a Colorado law enforcement agency without the carrier breaking the law if this bill is enacted.

If a branch of the military contracted with a civilian courier to deliver a shipment of 30 round magazines to a base within Colorado, then that courier would be in violation of this law if the magazines were not manufactured in Colorado.

Have one of your lawyers re-read the bill. I'll wait.

He/She will likely have confirmed what I've just written, and if he/she is sharp they'll mention that if the words "within Colorado" hadn't been added to a certain section, this problem likely wouldn't exist.

In short, on that reason alone, any lawyer that only slept halfway through law school will have no trouble convincing a judge on July 2nd to invalidate this law. That section is not separable from the rest, so the whole thing will be struck down.

Colorado does not have the extra money to spend fighting futilely to save a badly written law. Nor can it afford to lose MagPul and the associated and related manufacturers. Despite the confidence I have that this law would be struck down on or about July 2nd of 2013, that will not be enough to bring any businesses back that will leave the instant this bill is signed. Relocation is pricey, and no businesses will move for a few months, then move back where they left in the first place.

Also, the prohibitions within the law are too burdensome to withstand any legal challenge.

The bill prohibits transfers. That means if a couple that has been married 30 years go to the range, one spouse could not hand the other a magazine despite it being legally owned by the first spouse before this bill was enacted. Same applies to anyone despite their relationship - husband, wife, child, parent, grandparent pastor, shaman, pope - a legal owner of a magazine could not hand that magazine or a firearm containing that magazine to anyone. Not for the purposes of explaining firearm safety or design, not for target shooting, not for justifiable self defense, not for repair by an established gunsmith. Not ever.

A wife who uses her husbands pistol to legally, justifiably repel an intruder would be in violation of this law if the magazine held or could be readily converted to hold more than 15 rounds.

Magazines wear out. Acquiring new springs, followers or floorplates for magazines is fairly easy and inexpensive. Under this bill it would be illegal. Magazines are an integral part of the firearm, especially those with magazine disconnect safeties, and if magazines cannot be repaired it renders the entire firearm of limited or no practical use.

Magazine repair of a legally owned firearm would not be an exempted form of manufacture under this bill, so if I tried to repair a magazine that I legally owned for my own use, I would be breaking the law.

That would conflict with the federal and state constitutions, which both enumerate the Right to ownn and carry weapons. The Heller decision, of which you've no doubt heard something of, does mention that commonly used firearms are protected, and many firearms that are commonly used require a magazine to properly function.

The bill includes magazines "designed to be readily convertible" to hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.

A magazine typically consists of 4 parts: a magazine body, a follower, a spring, and a floorplate or basepad. By changing the follower and/or floorplate a magazine can be converted to hold more rounds than it originally did. This is a design feature of nearly all magazines.

To illustrate I have a 12 round magazine. With the addition of a new follower and a new floorplate made specifically for the purpose, I can increase the capacity from 12 to 17 rounds. I can do this without tools and in under a minute.

That means my 12 round magazine would be subject to the restrictions of this bill since it may be readily converted and like almost all magazines was designed that way.

This bill has a chilling effect on the exercise of a Right enumerated in 2 constitutions. It makes it difficult and perilous to teach anyone about firearms safety or shooting due to the language concerning transfers, as well as the mention of magazines that can be readily converted to hold more than 15 rounds.

Further, the section about shotgun shells does not accomplish anything it purports to:

18-12-301 (2)(a) (II) & 18-12-301 (2)(a) (III), respectively, deal with shotguns. (II) uses the inch measurement as a novel way to define how many shotshells can be contained within a tube magazine. Near as I can calculate that limit would be 8 or 9, depending upon length of individual shells. But (III) is very problematic, as I cannot determine what, if anything, it prohibits. There is no known shotgun that uses a detachable magazine in conjunction with a fixed magazine. Either a shotgun has a fixed magazine or a detachable magazine. There is no design I know of that could utilize both at once. So detachable magazines that hold more than 8 rounds are not prohibited, since no known design uses a fixed magazine in conjunction with a detachable magazine. Courts like to presume that any section of law does something, but I cannot determine what, if anything this actually does.

So you have a section of the law written so poorly that it's difficult to determine what the legislative intent was, let alone the effect that section has. The phrase 'void for vagueness" comes to mind here.

For those reasons this bill should be vetoed.

I realize you're inclined to sign it. Hell Hick, you were a member of MAIG when you presided over Denver. I have no doubt they had a hand in drafting this bill, and there's pressure for you to sign it. But as amended it will not withstand any halfhearted legal challenge. By vetoing it you may save some credibility with those who care about constitutional matters, such as the Right to own and carry weapons. You have a good excuse to veto this bill as it's written which would be justifiable to your anti gun-owner constituency, and it would keep the politically active gun-owners from organizing a very energetic voting effort against you in 2014, if not sooner.

I'd advise vetoing this bill, for all the reasons listed above.

And just to be clear, I'm a Colorado resident. I'll likely, but not definitely, move if this and/or other anti-gunowner bills become law. But I will break those laws as often as is convenient for me to do so while I'm here. So will most gun owners that I know, including at least 2 legislators. If the state wishes to disrespect our Rights, and pass laws to diminish if not extinguish our culture, then we'll not view said government with any legitimacy. That's not a good state for any of us to be in.

We elect governors, and governments to protect our Rights and our interests. But if the governor refuses to defend our Rights, we'll defend them ourselves until we can replace that governor, or government. I'd rather it not come down to that; lawyers can be pricey, so can political ads and campaign rallies. In short I have the luxury of principles, and I'd much rather die than submit to this law or others like it. But just twixt you and me, that's not my first choice; I'd much rather this bill were not enacted, and I could go about my life peaceably without having to worry when the cops were going to bust down my door because someone claimed my 12 round, easily convertible magazine was made on July 2nd of 2013.

Did I mention that this bill would not reduce crime? It'd create it. If a person decided to shoot up a mall, having this class 6 felony on his head would not deter him if mass murder was his intent. It would make virtually everyone I know in the shooting culture a criminal, as we all handle firearms with magazines in them which would be subject to this prohibition. There's simply no way to shoot with others, especially when teaching someone about firearms handling and safety, without violating these provisions.

Mr. Hickenlooper, protect your government from expensive legal battles and prevent your government from losing any more of its legitimacy than it already has over the decades; protect the people from laws that vilify an important and worthwhile culture; protect my culture from being criminalized because we practice the peaceful exercise of a Right; most importantly, protect the constitution from being infringed and our Rights from being called into question.

Veto these bills governor, starting with HB13-1224.


P.s. Whilst i have your attention, HB13-1228, the background check tax, should be vetoed as well. It's bad enough that our Right to own a weapon is questioned (what is a background check if not a direct questioning of that Right?) but to be forced to pay for it adds insult and injury on top of injury. The Colorado constitution forbids the government from questioning our Right to own and carry a weapon. Adding a tax on top of the background check aggravates that violation of constitutional law. This bill, along with the others that come before your desk, including HB13-1043, impose upon our Rights and should be vetoed. I'll be happy to explain why, and in depth, on each bill. Hell, I likely will anyway. Look up a few days after any gun-owner control bill passes. Or look up which will have all the Colorado specific posts of mine. And I'd recommend starting with this one: as it discusses the universal background check bill you may be seeing soon.

Posted by Publicola at March 14, 2013 08:48 AM | TrackBack

Good link to Gov. Hickenlooper below, I just used it to send and specified the mag bill as well as the transfer/registration bill and the "poll tax" on gun purchases:

"Governor, I strongly urge you to look closely at these bills and veto them.
These bills were all:
• Ill-conceived by individuals outside of Colorado with no appreciation of the impact on this state,
• drafted by people with an agenda hostile to the civil rights of lawful gun owners, and without sufficient knowledge of the subject matter and its terminology,
• hastily and poorly written,
• hustled through committees without proper consideration or reasonable debate or amendment,
• geared to controlling, harassing and punishing the law-abiding on the poor excuse that a few disturbed individuals have committed heinous acts,
• clearly ineffective at stopping any real criminal activity or preventing violence,
• poorly worded to the point that the unintended consequences will be to create a new class of felon out of law-abiding gun owners
• conducive to lengthy and costly litigation at taxpayer expense
• will immediately cost Colorado jobs in tourism, hunting and sport shooting related industries as well as manufacturing and supporting industries."


Feel free to plagiarize the above wording, no rights reserved…except my God given Civil Rights to Life, Liberty and the Purfuit of Happineff.


Posted by: kalashnikat at March 15, 2013 11:51 AM