Colorado’s Ban On High-Capacity Magazines Is Easy To Skirt

Colorado gun owners are easily circumventing the state’s controversial ban on ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds, a TV investigation discovered.

While the law, which went into effect last summer, makes it illegal to buy or sell typical 30-round magazines, some sellers have found creative ways around the law that render it all but meaningless.

At one gun store, an undercover producer for Denver’s CBS4 bought a “kit” for a 30-round magazine, which was essentially all its parts that simply hadn’t been assembled. It took the clerk less than 30 seconds to put it together, the station reported.

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And at a gun show, the producer bought a magazine retrofitted so that it would only accept 15 bullets in order to comply with the new law. That retrofit is easily undone, however, allowing the magazine to hold up to 30 rounds.

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An even simpler work-around is to buy the magazines in neighboring states, where their sale and possession is legal.

The investigation comes as little surprise to law enforcement officers. Colorado’s elected sheriffs opposed the bill from its inception, saying it would be unenforceable because magazines sold before the law went into effect are still legal to possess. Since they don’t have manufacturing dates stamped on them, it’s impossible for officers to tell when the magazines were bought and sold.

Democratic lawmakers proposed the ban in the wakes of the Aurora theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, saying it was necessary to save lives in such situations. The theory is that the more frequently a shooter has to stop to reload, the more chances people have to escape or end the rampage.

Critics have called it a useless infringement on the rights of law-abiding gun owners that will do nothing to prevent mass casualties by those who are intent on harming others.

The often heated debate resulted in Colorado’s first-ever recalls of two Democratic state senators who were targeted for their support of the new law. A third senator resigned rather than face a recall election so that she could preserve the Democratic majority in the chamber.

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, one of the most vocal opponents of the law, told CBS4 he wasn’t surprised by the station’s findings.

“People are going to find a way around it,” he said.


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