The Corner

Colorado Sheriffs Won’t Enforce New Gun Laws

At least two Colorado sheriffs are saying they may not enforce new gun restrictions if Governor John Hickenlooper signs them into law. 

Weld County sheriff John Cooke and El Paso County sheriff Terry Maketa both told constituents that a bill requiring background checks for most firearms transfers would be unenforceable, and they don’t intend to try.

Cooke told GreeleyTribune.com that Democrats in the state legislature are uninformed and scrambling in response to the Aurora movie theater shooting and other recent tragedies.

“They’re feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable,” he told the news outlet.

The bill passed Friday expands cases when a $10 criminal background check would be required to legally transfer a gun. Republicans have opposed the bill, calling it an undue burden on law-abiding gun owners.

Cooke said the proposed firearms transfer requirement would not keep guns out of the hands of criminals, according to the GreeleyTribune.com report.

The sheriff told the news outlet that he and other county sheriffs “won’t bother enforcing” the laws because it won’t be possible to keep track of how gun owners are complying with the new requirements.

Cooke is joined in his opposition to the proposals by El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who told an angry packed crowd at a meeting on Thursday in Colorado Springs he would stand firm against the bills.

“I can’t tell you when those were sold, bought and purchased. As far as I’m concerned, they were all pre-July 1 if the governor does sign this bill,” he said.

Maketa said the proposed laws were hastily crafted and at least one would be unenforceable. A number of Colorado sheriffs are concerned the laws could lead to registration of gun owners, he said.

The Colorado measures, of course, have been praised by the White House. On the one hand, I’ve never been in favor of nullification, at any level. On the other, the president has demonstrated that “discretion” in enforcing the laws is an effective way to do immigration policy. So why not gun control?

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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