Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Judge: Sheriffs can't sue Colorado over gun laws

By Ivan Moreno, The Associated Press

DENVER — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Colorado sheriffs suing the state over new firearm restrictions don't have standing to proceed with the case as a group, but the legal battle is far from over.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger in Denver doesn't stop the lawsuit because 21 other plaintiffs who are suing do have standing. The court will still consider whether a law that bans ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds is constitutional, the judge said.

The remaining plaintiffs include individuals and various gun groups.

The law that took effect July 1 was among a package of gun control legislation passed in response to mass shootings last year at a suburban Denver movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.

Sheriffs in most of Colorado's 64 counties filed a lawsuit in May.

Krieger also ruled in favor of part of the technical guidance that the state offered to implement the law when it comes to what it means for a magazine to be "readily convertible." The guidance outlined that magazines that have removable baseplates won't be considered part of ban and won't be seen as being adaptable to hold more rounds than what the law allows.

The Second Amendment question is still being considered, as well as the claim that the new lawsuits discriminate against people with disabilities.

Sheriffs can choose to join the suit in an individual capacity, and they'll have 14 days to make that decision.

"We are pleased that the court recognized that many of the plaintiffs had no standing to bring this case and that our interpretation of the law is proper," said Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman with the Colorado attorney general's office, which is representing the state in the lawsuit.

"We hope to have the important constitutional question that remains resolved quickly and properly," Tyler said.