Colorado Supreme Court Declares Mag Ban Constitutional Under State Law

Colorado’s ban on the sale or transfer of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammo is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

The challenge to the law (HB 1224) came from the Loveland-based Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).  The pro-gun group argued that it violated one’s right to keep and bear arms only under Colorado’s constitution.  

RMGO did not ask the court to evaluate the mag prohibition under the Second Amendment in our federal constitution. 

“We conclude today that the legislation passes state constitutional muster,” the opinion says. “Because Plaintiffs do not challenge HB 1224 under the Second Amendment, we do not address whether the legislation runs afoul of the federal constitution.” 

Dudley Brown, RMGO’s executive director, explained why they took this limiting approach back in 2013 when the law was passed and the suit was filed.  

“The reason we didn’t file it in federal court is there was already a federal court lawsuit in 2013,” explained Brown. “The U.S. Supreme Court was a very different makeup in 2013, and no one had a crystal ball to know what it would look like seven years later, so why would we have pushed it on that front?”

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That other mag ban challenge never made it before the high court.  Brown is now saying that if he could’ve done things differently, with the benefit of hindsight, he would’ve.

“In retrospect, would I have run two cases? Yeah. I don’t know how we would have paid for it,” said Brown, who told local media that the group spent $210,000 on the case. “Only have so much time, treasure and talents.”

As to why the ban passes “muster” on the state level, the court in a unanimous 7-0 ruling found that “HB 1224 is a reasonable exercise of the police power that has neither the purpose nor effect of nullifying the right to bear arms in self-defense encompassed by article II, section 13 of the Colorado Constitution.”

The judges went on to say that because RMGO did not seek dual constitutional claims they cannot “now insist that federal constitutional law controls the analysis of their case.”  In short, the ruling is final. 

RMGO said in a press release that it’s not all bad news for gun owners.

“Though we didn’t succeed in striking down the Magazine Ban, we did win on two very important points,” said Brown. 

“First, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned an older ruling that would have nullified the Colorado Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms.  Second, they protected virtually all removable base plate magazines, which would have criminalized hundreds of thousands of gun owners,” he continued.  

The press release from RMGO.

Looking ahead, Colorado gun owners are left with at least two big questions.  

Will law enforcement, which had been quite lax about enforcing the ban, start cracking down on gun owners with 15-plus round magazines?  

Obviously, that’s difficult to predict because the law had a grandfather clause to protect those who possessed mags before the law took effect on July 1, 2013.  Unless police can track the time of sale or transfer, it’d be almost impossible to differentiate between a pre-ban or post-ban mag.

Second, what happens to the widespread availability of kits that allow one to assemble a magazine of a certain round count at home?  

Maybe nothing, at least for now. The state Supreme Court did not rule on this particular point, just as to whether the ban itself was constitutional under Colorado law.  

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Mike Colorado July 11, 2020, 10:05 pm

    “A reasonable exercise of police power.” I did not know Colorado was under a police state like a third world country. Things are getting stupid, I grew up here and it is no longer Colorado it is Calirado. Colorado Parks and Wildlife openly run radio adds on the Western Slope now talking about how people are moving to our state who want to ban all hunting in Colorado and how we need to be ethical hunters and conceal our game after we harvest it so that we do not offend anyone. When did owning a firearm or being a hunter make us second rate citizens in Colorado or this country. I like the old Colorado when the Eisenhower tunnels did not exist and it was a two lane road from Loveland pass to Grand Junction. After wearing a uniform for thirty two years of my life in law enforcement, I really want to see chaos reign, keep protesting, keep burning property to the ground and defund all law enforcement. Yes sir! Let chaos reign, there are many chapters in the history book for our country that still need to be filled out and people forget there is furniture in Europe that is older then the U.S. Liberals destroy everything under the term democrat and all you have to do is look at history to see how they operate and the destruction that they have caused. Colorado will run out of water soon and maybe just maybe all of these idiots from the west and east coast that are destroying our state will quit moving here. All of us retirees in law enforcement laugh about we don’t call 911 because we own guns and we are not stepping in to help you because you don’t own a gun when you become a crime victim. We will make a great witness on your behalf and write an awesome statement, but these are the times you need to feel the pain of your stupid actions with the laws that you are passing to undermine the constitution. Keep purchasing guns and ammo everyone that is not a socialist liberal because some shady business is coming down the pipe. Our country has turned into a tiered system for criminal justice which must not be allowed to continue because that is not how our country was founded.

    • Daniel G. Braatz July 13, 2020, 3:42 pm

      Well said! I moved here in 1986 (NOT from either coast) & I’ve seen our state get worse, at an almost exponential rate, ever since then; particularly where firearms laws are concerned. About 10 years ago I said, ‘it’s time to throw the baby out but keep the bath water.’ No idea what is going to happen in the next few months; but it is surely going to be interesting.

  • nightlight July 6, 2020, 5:23 pm

    So the Colorado Supreme Court made a ruling that violates our Constitution!?
    How is it that they are allowed to do that!?
    What part of “shall not be infringed” do they not understand??

  • pete July 6, 2020, 11:06 am

    Good. Sane and reasonable progress. Our worship of private ownership of massive firepower is nothing less than a mental problem.

    • Shan July 6, 2020, 3:19 pm

      I sincerely hope your family is raped in front of you one day and oops out of ammo.

    • Greg July 6, 2020, 3:48 pm

      So every cop is walking around with “massive firepower”? the Glock 17 and Glock 19 pistols EACH hold more than 15 rounds in the standard flush fit magazine. Cops typically carry 1 full mag in the gun and 2-4 more magazines on their belt. In Colorado, cops shooting suspects are responsible for around 25% of the firearm homicides annually.
      Rifles that can hold 30 rounds in a standard magazine are used in less than 250 murders per year across the whole country annually. (FBI uniform crime reports are public record) This means rifles with 30rd magazines are used in less than 2% of the murders nationwide annually. There are more than 30 Million of these rifles in public hands.
      Perhaps we should ban cops instead?

    • Donald S July 6, 2020, 4:36 pm

      So 15 rounds in a magazine is OK but 20 or 30 rounds is “massive firepower”? How did that come about? What was the thought process involved in arriving at the number 15? Was it just a number they thought both sides could live with? I don’t believe that there were any 15 round magazines in common use at the time. Were they hoping that people would actually have to settle for 10 round mags since there was nothing available between those and illegal 20 rounders?

    • D.J. July 7, 2020, 2:09 pm

      Pete , ” I certainly do not understand your brand of stupid ,
      but I do admire your dedication to it . “

  • Eugene July 6, 2020, 10:15 am

    I moved out of California to Colorado ten years ago to escape from on those Commie Bastards. Now in Ten short years I’ve seen this State slowly slide into the Shitter.
    Liberalism is a disease like cancer I don’t think any state is safe anymore. It just breaks my heart to see this country go in this direction. I’m getting too old now to keep moving.

    • Don S July 6, 2020, 4:45 pm

      I don’t think that you’re one of those people but it seems to be a trend that some people in California get fed up with too many restrictive laws and leave for another state (Arizona in my case) and pretty soon, when their numbers reach a certain point, they start agitating for those same restrictive laws all over again in their adopted state. Progressive disease?

  • GaryGary July 6, 2020, 8:14 am

    AND ……………… this is why Magpul pulled out of this wacky state taking many jobs and it’s tax base with it ! Seems CO wants to be the next Calif., Seattle and Portland ? The good citizens and business owners will leave leaving behind the mooches !

  • Tommie N Thompson July 5, 2020, 12:53 pm

    Too late! It already has!

  • Helena Sabin July 4, 2020, 5:04 pm

    This is why we moved out of COLO and to MT where freedom still reigns. CA and ILLINOIS stupid people are moving in and want to change this state – they are being paid to do so. They will learn that Montanans do NOT tolerate their nonsense.

  • David Welsh July 3, 2020, 10:46 pm

    Remember that judges are former ambulance chasers. Law schools don’t teach the writings of the Founding Fathers, so don’t expect their grads to honor the great men. This vote was 7-0 to INFRINGE on Colorado’s citizens Constitutional rights. Jefferson said Americans are duty bound to nullify (ignore) infringements on their rights. Ignore the punk tyrants!

  • Bobby July 3, 2020, 3:25 pm

    “Obviously, that’s difficult to predict because the law had a grandfather clause to protect those who possessed mags before the law took effect on July 1, 2013. Unless police can track the time of sale or transfer, it’d be almost impossible to differentiate between a pre-ban or post-ban mag.”

    I think we’re screwed on this. Look at your mags. They have been putting the month and year of production on mag bodies for years now.

    • Give Me Freedom July 10, 2020, 2:51 pm

      These laws are nothing but feel good laws to Colorado tyrants and the law is very easy to go around. Sheriffs in the free counties of Colorado have said they will not enforce these ridiculous magazine capacity restriction laws on citizens. They also sell “magazine part kits” in Colorado which one can take home and easily assemble to a 30 round magazine or whatever capacity is available out in the free States.

      Right now there is still some freedom in Colorado in most of the counties but it’s progressively getting worse there.

  • Area 52 July 3, 2020, 1:14 pm

    With Roberts on the SCOTUS don’t expect a different outcome if this case is ever decided by the supreme court.

    • Give Me Freedom July 10, 2020, 2:54 pm

      The Supreme Court has been refusing to hear almost all 2nd Amendment cases presently. I’ve lost hope that the Supreme Court will side with the common people on the 2nd Amendment presently with the current Justices in 2020.

  • Russ Jester July 3, 2020, 1:13 pm

    3 of 7 are IVY LEAGUE LIBERAL GRADUATES
    and 6 of 7 were appointed by a DEMOCRAT Governir

  • Richard July 3, 2020, 12:03 pm

    Commierado

  • W. Stott July 3, 2020, 11:03 am

    Hey folks the law is the law…. and that makes me a criminal, a law breaker. Until these laws are appealed I will continue to be a self-protecting outlaw.😷

  • Tyrone Greene July 3, 2020, 10:05 am

    Why couldn’t they retry it on 1stA grounds? Each round is an argument of “NO”, therefore they are limiting “Free Speech” by limiting the size of the magazine. The more – the merrier….

    • Daniel G. Braatz July 13, 2020, 3:55 pm

      Great idea! Maybe if we printed “No” on all our cartridges…

  • Jim Parker July 3, 2020, 9:22 am

    Sorry to all my 2A brothers and sisters, but I love the idea that anti-gunners in Colorado think they won some big deal in their stupid court. They’ll all be sitting at home trying to figure out ways to count the rounds in some empty extruded plastic magazine. I hope it drives them all to madness.

    • Bobs your uncle July 4, 2020, 3:31 pm

      For most of them its a short drive

  • Clifton Ward July 3, 2020, 9:18 am

    Colorado idiots. SNAFU. In Co.

    • Salvador Partini July 3, 2020, 11:01 pm

      You don’t know the half of it. Colorado is lost. It is a junior California. The Supreme Court here is also a hopeless collection of progressive clowns. The judiciary, on both the State and Federal levels, is also hopeless. This used to be a moderately conservative state with democrat cancer limited to Boulder and Denver. It is now pervasive throughout the state. They have won, and the rest of us are in a holding action. Sad.

  • Alex Fitch July 3, 2020, 9:03 am

    Happens every time you let Californians flood into your state.

    Califreaks, stay the hell out of Texas.

    • Rattlerjake July 3, 2020, 10:23 am

      TOO LATE! All of Texas’ major cities are run by leftists. Gov. Abbott is a Bush clone who just recently kowtowed to the latest phony covid19 scare and ‘reclosed’ businesses and beaches in the state! Texas will be a blue state by 2024! Of course so will North Carolina from all of the New Yoricans filling up Charlotte and Raleigh!

      • EW July 22, 2020, 10:03 am

        Yep, you’re right. North Carolina is the same, but I think we beat Texas to it by a few years. I don’t know, Houston was already known as a sodomite fortress back in the 80’s, so dunno. In NC, we all voted against gay mirage on a ballot, that “no” to gay mirage passed, then a Supreme Court case DECISION caused our then-governor Pat McCrory, a Repub, to roll over and make a Supreme Court case decision into an unspoken/unwritten law that we JUST FINISHED VOTING AGAINST. So our votes don’t matter. OK, got it. Then, we go and elect the first Repub majority in our state legislature in 200 years, but elect a Democrat governor, Roy Cooper. Ridiculous. How does THAT happen? Guess since he was the Attorney General under McCrory, we had to have a lawyer as the figurehead, just like everyone else. The “Triangle” of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill…which really also includes Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Research Triangle Park (RTP), Morrisville. Most are liberal, some still hold to Truth and community distinctives. Apex’s first black mayor (after 20 yrs in Apex PD) went out and did a Black Lives Matter march after the Floyd incident…yet he states he’s a Christ-follower and member of Calvary Chapel. Guess he never visited the BLM website…or he’s not really Redeemed. Very sad.

    • buck July 3, 2020, 2:41 pm

      yes they are every where and even trying to get into the marble area and looking around up in teller county ! keep the callies out folks ! look at boulder, denver area, ft collins area ! KEEP THE BASTARDS OUT OR FACE THE RESULTS !

  • Peter July 3, 2020, 7:49 am

    Well, I live in CA where they are banned, and I have 30. Americans just need to be defiant!!! Simple as that!

    • Rattlerjake July 3, 2020, 10:25 am

      It’s pretty simple, CACHE! When the SHTF no one will be checking your magazines! And when it’s over, it won’t matter!

    • Shan July 6, 2020, 3:23 pm

      Same. I live in California and we laugh at that shit. I have a few extra 40 round mags if you guys need one.

  • Dr Motown July 3, 2020, 7:26 am

    Hmmmm…we’re “safe” from psycho shooters at the mall who have to reload, but NOT safe when we only have 15 rounds to use against an unruly mob. GREAT THINKING COLORADO JUSTICES!

    • Rattlerjake July 3, 2020, 10:28 am

      I see “new” 14 round magazines on the horizon.

    • BUCK July 3, 2020, 2:46 pm

      yipper keep em hid folks we may need them soon than you think ! yes the libtards would lose if they try open war fare ! and that goes for the leftist bastards that voted the law in !

  • Paul Lech July 3, 2020, 7:16 am

    Ban self protection but legalize drugs.
    Did someone say flush?

  • capt tommy knight July 3, 2020, 7:10 am

    thats what happens when California people move into a state

  • Jeremy J July 3, 2020, 6:24 am

    Never go full retard. Colorado law makers went full retard. One day when the U.S is in a state of full anarchy because the government has abused its power and violated its citizens rights to the breaking point they will wonder why. Reagan was right about one thing, the worst combination of words in the English language “I from the government and I’m here to help”

  • SuperG July 1, 2020, 10:54 am

    It is clear. Justice is for sale in this country, and you only get it if you can afford it.

    • Rattlerjake July 3, 2020, 10:31 am

      And again, where is the NRA when there is a 2nd amendment fight? I’m sure La Pierre was out buying another $10,000 suit and begging for more memberships and donations!

      • Give Me Freedom July 10, 2020, 2:58 pm

        Join Gun Owners of America as I have. They have about two million members last I looked and they are taking the fight offensively on the 2nd Amendment and winning some of the cases in the courts.

    • Daniel G. Braatz July 13, 2020, 4:10 pm

      That is profound! -& getting more true by the week

  • Bobs your uncle June 30, 2020, 4:57 pm

    Hooray! we are all safe now. Thank God! all criminals will be forced, by law, to use only fifteen round magazines, take that, law breakers. Do I need to go on or have I made my point? Colorado has become so dumb ass

    • buck July 3, 2020, 2:54 pm

      is colorado now considered a blue state now ? was thinking of moving back to divide, co but now will sell my 11 acres is most likly at this point ! what a great state it use to be untill the libs starting moving here!

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