Senators on Mag-Ban: An Unenforceable Law is an Unnecessary Law

Senate Republicans today took another step towards restoring lost rights and rebuilding battered public trust by passing SB-175, a bipartisan bill repealing still-controversial magazine ammunition limits approved by Democrats in 2013. Prominent among the arguments in support of the repeal is that any law this incomprehensible and unenforceable must also be unnecessary.

Nearly three years after the ban was approved, sparking a backlash that led to two successful recalls, one resignation and the return of Republicans to majority status in the Senate, Coloradans today have enough experience with the mag ban to confirm what critics said of the law back in 2013 – that it’s confusing, unenforceable and another example of government overreach that sacrifices Constitutionally-protected rights based on a false and empty promise of improved public safety.

Senators pointed to the very low number of mag-ban related criminal charges, as well as the complete lack of statistical or anecdotal evidence showing that law has saved a life or prevented a violent act, as proof that the mag-ban was sold to the public on a false premise.

“Today the Senate took an important step toward restoring trust with the people of Colorado by passing a bipartisan bill, SB-175, on second reading,” said Senator Chris Holbert (R-Douglas County), who co-authored the bill with Sen. John Cooke (R-Weld County), the former Weld County Sheriff. I just want to thank Sens. Cheri Jahn, Kerry Donovan and Leroy Garcia, along with Rep. Edward Vigil, for co-sponsoring this bill.”

Former Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, who refused to enforce the ban as sheriff and has also been one of the driving forces behind SB-175, said the relatively low level of prosecutions brought under the law proves that it’s been of no value in corralling criminals and preventing violent crime.

“Nearly three years after this law was forced on reluctant Coloradans on a party-line vote, there’s absolutely no evidence of any kind that it’s improved public safety in any way,” said Cooke. My second biggest objection to this law, after the fact that it undermines important Constitutional rights, is that it’s unenforceable and thus completely unneeded. Passage of this bipartisan bill should help assure Coloradans that we’re trying to right the wrongs done nearly three years ago.”

A third reading by the Senate is up next for SB-175. Passage on third then sends it to the House for committee action.

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