Hickenlooper Seeks Political Cover With Signing Statement

When Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) signed into law Colorado’s forthcoming ban on standard capacity magazines, he took a page from Presidents Bush and Obama and issued a signing statement with the bill. The signing statement notes that Gov. Hickenlooper consulted with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office on the bill and how it should be construed narrowly by law enforcement.

This is nothing but an attempt to push off some of the blowback he is receiving or will receive about this law on to the Republicans. No Republican legislator voted for this law and were adamant in their opposition to it. However, Colorado’s Attorney General, John Suthers, is a Republican. In my opinion, Attorney General Suthers should not provide any political cover to Gov. Hickenlooper and should tell him the law says what it says. It will only be when Colorado voters realize just how draconian this law really is that they will turn out the Democrats responsible for it.

Narrow enforcement of this law may make it tolerable over time. Strict enforcement of the law, despite the harm it will do, will turn this law into a 21st Century Intolerable Act and force its repeal. It will also make court challenges more likely to win especially if the “readily converted” provision makes many firearms unusable.

The signing statement is below:



In signing HB13-1224, we acknowledge that some have expressed concerns about the vagueness of the law’s definition of “large-capacity magazine.” By its terms, the law does make illegal any magazine manufactured or purchased after July 1, 2013, that is capable of accepting, or is designed to be readily converted to accept, more that 15 rounds of ammunition. Similar language is used in other states’ statutes limiting large-capacity magazines. We know that magazine manufacturers have produced and sell magazines that comply with these other state laws that limit large-capacity magazines and we are aware of no successful legal challenges to those laws. And when a Colorado-based magazine manufacturer came to us to share their concerns about the vagueness of the definition of “large-capacity magazine” contained in the original version of the bill, we worked with the bill’s sponsors to fine-tune the definition to make it more precise.

We also have heard concerns about the requirement in the law that a person who owns a large-capacity magazine prior to the law’s enactment may legally possess that magazine only as long as he or she “maintains continuous possession” of it. We do not believe a reasonable interpretation of the law means that a person must maintain continuous “physical” possession of these items. Responsible maintenance and handling of magazines obviously contemplates that gun owners may allow others to physically hold and handle them under appropriate circumstances. We are confident that law enforcement and the courts will interpret the statute so as to effectuate the lawful use and care of these devices.

In considering the language of HB13-1224, we have consulted with the Office of the Attorney General and we concur with its advice that the large-capacity magazine ban should be construed narrowly to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Second Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. We have signed HB13-1224 into law based on the understanding that it will be interpreted and applied narrowly and consistently with these important constitutional provisions.

To this end, today we are directing the Colorado Department of Public Safety to consult with the Office of the Attorney General and others, as necessary, with respect to the interpretation of HB13-1224’s large-capacity magazine ban, and then to draft and issue, to law enforcement agencies in the State of Colorado, technical guidance on how the law should be interpreted and enforced. This work should be done by July 1, 2013, the law’s effective date.

A Communique From Behind Enemy Lines

Magpul Industries released a statement today on Facebook after Gov. John Hickenlooper had signed HB 1224 into law along with two other gun control measures. I must say I am a little shocked at the number of magazines that they have already shipped under the Boulder Airlift as well as the number they plan to ship before the July 1st implementation date of the new law.

All I can say to the anti-gunners – good luck trying to enforce that loser of a law. Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County was correct – it is unenforceable.

With the signing of the HB 1224, we want to reassure Colorado residents, now officially in occupied territory, that the “Boulder Airlift” will continue until we can no longer legally ship to CO residents at the approach of the July 1 deadline, so long as demand continues.

We are looking at additional ways to give Coloradans the opportunity to buy the magazines they need prior to the enactment date, as although we’ve been swamped with tens of thousands of orders, our shipping department limitations have only allowed us to get a few hundred thousand magazines out to CO residents…a small portion of our monthly production. We’ll continue to support the Airlift as long as demand exists, and up to the active date of the legislation, and we’ve allocated a little over a million magazines for the effort up to that point, give or take.

Customers in the rest of the country should rest assured that the airlift only takes a small portion of our production, and magazines and other products are continuing to ship to the rest of the nation. Our transition to a new home will occur in a phased and orderly a manner to allow us to continue to serve our customers during the move, as well as to allow an orderly transition for affected employees. We are actively working on those plans.

Hickenlooper Signs Colorado Mag Ban

Today, in a move that guarantees that Colorado will lose at least 200 jobs, Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO) signed three gun control bills. Among these bills was HB 1224 which bans magazines with a capacity greater than 15 rounds or that could be readily converted to hold more than 15 rounds.

Lawmakers and guests applauded as Hickenlooper signed the bills. The governor looked solemn.

The bills thrust Colorado into the national spotlight as a potential test of how far the country might be willing to go on new restrictions after the horror of mass shootings at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school and Aurora movie theater.

“I am happy the governor is signing common-sense legislation that reduces gun violence in our communities by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic violence offenders and the seriously mentally ill,” said Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, who represents the district where an assailant opened fire July 20 during a midnight showing of “Dark Knight Rises.”

Whether it was meant to be symbolic or not, the signing comes eight months to the day after the shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, CO.

UPDATE: Michael Bane issued a warning to gun owners who either live in Denver and its adjacent towns or in Boulder. On today’s Downrange Radio podcast, Michael, citing private conversations with his friends in law enforcement, warned that police in Denver and Boulder will be enforcing the Colorado Magazine Ban to the letter of the law. Listen to his podcast for more info. Frankly, it would make me very hesitant to visit the Denver/Boulder area.

Gun Prohibitionists Crowing

Now that Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) has signed Colorado HB 1224 which now bans magazines with a capacity – or the ability to be readily converted – of over 15 rounds, the gun prohibitionists at Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors are crowing. I guess they feel they got their money’s worth.

Would that these gun prohibitionists cared so much about the lives and jobs of the employees of Magpul and their suppliers that will be leaving Colorado.

Magpul Statement On Announcement Hickenlooper To Sign HB 1224

A spokesman for Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) announced that the governor will sign Colorado’s magazine ban – HB 1224 – on Wednesday. In response, Magpul Industries released this statement and reiterated their plans to leave the state if the bill was signed.

Apparently Gov Hickenlooper has announced that he will sign HB 1224 on Wednesday. We were asked for our reaction, and here is what we said:

We have said all along that based on the legal problems and uncertainties in the bill, as well as general principle, we will have no choice but to leave if the Governor signs this into law. We will start our transition out of the state almost immediately, and we will prioritize moving magazine manufacturing operations first. We expect the first PMAGs to be made outside CO within 30 days of the signing, with the rest to follow in phases. We will likely become a multi-state operation as a result of this move, and not all locations have been selected. We have made some initial contacts and evaluated a list of new potential locations for additional manufacturing and the new company headquarters, and we will begin talks with various state representatives in earnest if the Governor indeed signs this legislation. Although we are agile for a company of our size, it is still a significant footprint, and we will perform this move in a manner that is best for the company and our employees.

It is disappointing to us that money and a social agenda from outside the state have apparently penetrated the American West to control our legislature and Governor, but we feel confident that Colorado residents can still take the state back through recalls, ballot initiatives, and the 2014 election to undo these wrongs against responsible Citizens.

Magpul had their outside legal counsel analyze the bill. They have sent this analysis to Gov. Hickenlooper along with a request that he veto the bill. Unfortunately, it is apparent that Gov. Hickenlooper is more interested in pleasing V-P Joe Biden and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg than in keeping jobs in Colorado.

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“Or Readily Converted”

Now that HB 1224 has been amended and passed by both houses of the Colorado legislature, a line in the bill that would effectively ban all magazines with a removable floorplate is finally being noticed. And the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) is not only not concerned about that but fully supports the broad interpretation of the law.

The relevant passage from the definitions section of the engrossed version of HB 1224 in defining what constitutes a “large capacity magazine” reads:


Say, for example, that you had a standard Glock 19 magazine that hold 15 rounds. You think that it is legal if this law is signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and could be readily transferred. However, you can put a Pearce Grip magazine extension on it which adds two more rounds. That 15 round magazine was just readily converted to a 17 round magazine and is illegal under the law as written.

Denver’s 9 News investigated and concluded the above example is a correct interpretation of the law. Moreover, when they interviewed Rep. Fields, she agreed. She also suggested that people could either get existing non-convertible 10 round magazines or that manufacturers would make 15 round magazines for sale in Colorado. She lives in a dreamland if you believes the latter.

Michael Bane has an extended discussion of this in this week’s DownRange Radio podcast. You can listen to it here. It explains why he is setting up a gun trust to protect himself.

Under Colorado law, Gov. Hickenlooper has two weeks to veto the bill. His veto must be an affirmative act – just refusing to sign the bill will let it go into effect.

You still have time to contact Hickenlooper using this link. He portrays himself as pro-business and now it is time for him to put up or shut up.

More Revenue Than Ford Motor Company

The One Minute MBA studied the business of guns and found that the firearms industry generated $10 billion more revenue that Ford Motor Company. It also employs five times as many people as Google. As Exurban Kev noted at Misfires and Light Strikes, this shows “why Magpul’s potential move out of Colorado matters.”

Unless two Democrat state senators change their vote Monday on the final vote on HB 1224, I’m afraid the good people of Colorado are going to find out this out first-hand. Even if the Colorado Republican sweep the Democrats out of office in 2014, Magpul and their jobs will still be gone. Once they move I sincerely doubt that they would ever relocate back to Colorado.

Another Colorado HB 1224 Oops

First, Colorado Democrats amended their magazine ban bill, HB 1224, to allow Magpul to make but not sell magazines in Colorado. Now it seems another feature of the bill would outlaw any pump or semi-auto shotgun that could accept a magazine tube extender. You know shotguns like the Mossberg 500 and the Remington 870 which are the two biggest selling shotguns in America.

Here’s a suggestion to the Senate Democrats and Gov. John Hickenlooper – dump the bill.

Reading Between The Lines

Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) represents the district in which magazine manufacturer Magpul is located. He plans to tour the Magpul plant in Erie, Colorado today and had invited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) to join him. Hickenlooper won’t be able to attend because he is headed to the East Coast for meetings in New York, Philly, and DC as well as attending the National Governors Association meeting.

In making the invitation Gardner said:

Gardner, R-Yuma, said the governor could benefit from the tour because, “as elected officials, I think it is important that we educate ourselves on how legislation can affect our constituents.”

As so often happens, the Congressman’s office didn’t coordinate with the Governor’s office before announcing the invitation.  I’ve read two reports on this invitation in the Denver press. In one report (the Denver Post), the story stops there. Moreover, the headlines in both stories are about the invitation and the governor’s inability to make the tour with Gardner.

However, in the other report on this tour put out by KDVR Fox 31 Denver, there was this little tidbit about HB 1224, the Colorado magazine ban bill, and the governor’s position on it.

Hickenlooper told reporters last week that he supports the high-capacity magazine ban; but, during a panel discussion about gun restrictions Tuesday night, the governor appeared to waffle on the matter.

“We haven’t taken a position on that bill yet,” Hickenlooper said. “But I from time to time have said contradictory things on it.

“It’s a tough issue: I mean, how many lives do you save, and how real is the inconvenience to the people who want to have a larger capacity magazine and feel it’s essential for defending their house?”

Hickenlooper’s former legislative lobbyist, R.D. Sewald, who left the administration last year to start his own private lobbying firm, now represents Magpul.

In terms of whether or not a magazine ban is enacted in Colorado or not, forget the news about the tour. That is just publicity seeking by a politician. The important stuff is the relationship between Gov. Hickenlooper and Sewald, the fact that Sewald now represents Magpul, and whether or not Sewald can convince either Hickenlooper or enough Democrat State Senators to can HB 1224. That’s the real story.

Could You Slant The Poll Wording Just A Bit More?

The Colorado State House passed their standard capacity magazine ban by a vote of 33 to 31. Every Democrat save three voted for HB 1224.

This led the Denver Post to set up an on-line poll asking whether or not Magpul should follow through on their promise to leave the state if HB 1224 is enacted into law. It asks, “If Colorado passes legislation banning the possession of high-capacity gun magazines, should Colorado-based manufacturers of such magazines leave the state?”

Look at the language of the Yes vote:

Yes. Let them carry through with their recent threats to leave. Colorado doesn’t need them here.

Could you slant it any more than this?

Now look at the language of the No vote in the poll:

No. HB 1224 makes it clear they could still legally produce high-capacity magazines to sell elsewhere, and Colorado needs the jobs.

Now think about that – if the legislature really believes a product is so dangerous and so injurious to the public safety that it must be banned in the state, then why on Earth would you allow it to be produced and then put into interstate commerce?

As the Republican Minority Leader noted:

House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, said it was “absolutely inconsistent” for Democrats to have added an amendment to the bill in an attempt to keep Erie -based gun magazine manufacturer Magpul from leaving the state. The amendment says manufacturers could still make high-capacity magazines for out-of-state sale.

“Apparently, they (high-capacity magazines) are not instruments of destruction when they’re purchased outside the borders of Colorado,” Waller said.

 Unless a few Democrats in the State Senate show some spine and defeat the bill, Magpul will be moving. If I were an industrial recruiter in another state, I’d be putting my package together right now. It really is a sad state of affairs in the Centennial State.