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June 11, 2013 10:58 AM UTC

BREAKING: Major, Misreported Developments In Gun Lawsuit

  • by: Colorado Pols
Colorado journalists
Colorado journalists “report” on House Bill 1224 (acorn courtesy Jon Caldara).

Yesterday, apparently under the radar of most local media, Gov. John Hickenlooper filed a motion in federal District Court requesting an injunction legally binding the enforcement of House Bill 1224, the bill restricting ammunition capacity to 15 rounds, to the technical guidance on the new law issued by the Attorney General a few weeks ago. Here's the key portion of the proposed injunction from Hickenlooper's attorneys:

The Technical Guidance is an “official written interpretation” of HB13-1224. It has been adopted by the Governor and the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Official written interpretations of criminal laws are binding and create an affirmative defense for individuals charged under those laws. See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-504(2)(c) (providing an affirmative defense to criminal prosecutions contrary to “official written interpretation of the statute or law relating to the offense, made or issued by a public servant, agency, or body legally charged or empowered with the responsibility of administering, enforcing, or interpreting” it).

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d), the Court hereby issues a preliminary injunction binding the Governor, and any of his officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys,to the conclusions of the Technical Guidance as the official interpretation of the chief executive and chief legal officers of the State of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Here's the full text of Hickenlooper's proposed injunction, along with his motion for the injunction.

What this means pending the court's approval, as supporters on House Bill 1224 have long insisted would be the case, is that the new law will be interpreted under this order in the reasonable manner specified by Republican Attorney General John Suthers in his guidance when it takes effect at the beginning of next month. It means that the law will not "outlaw all magazines" as gun lobbyists and opponents like Dave Kopel and his boss Jon Caldara claimed and virally spread. Kopel actually admitted this development was a possibility at the bottom of a story by 9NEWS a few weeks ago:

David Kopel, the lawyer suing the state over HB-1224, says the technical guidance does not change the suit because the guidance can always be changed and constitutional concerns remain over having vague language on the books.

He did concede that the court may decide to adopt the guidance or set down other clarifications of the law in its ruling. [Pols emphasis]

That's exactly what's happening, folks. Yesterday's proposed order also requests a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court on the major components of the magazine limit law. What we will then have, assuming their answers are consistent with this guidance, is ironclad assurance that the extreme interpretations of House Bill 1224 promoted by opponents will never be what is enforced as law. All of which would severely discredit the manufactured outrage over the passage of this bill, which was principally based on such misinformation.

And that's good, because those interpretations were always ridiculous, and only had credibility so far as a lazy, and in some cases willingly complicit media gave it to them.

Which brings us to the only media coverage we could find of yesterday's court action, by one Robert Boczkiewicz of the Pueblo Chieftain. We've commented on the Chieftain's dubious journalistic standards more than once, and this is a stunning example:

The filing states that the plaintiffs who sued to overturn the laws oppose Hickenlooper’s offer. He, as the state’s chief executive, is the defendant in the lawsuit filed May 17 by sheriffs, various organizations and individuals. 

The offer to postpone total enforcement [Pols emphasis] has a condition that would limit enforcement to terms stated in official guidance issued May 16 by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to law enforcement officers. 

Folks, this story is nothing short of factually absurd. There is no "total enforcement" of House Bill 1224 proposed by anyone. The only enforcement of House Bill 1224 sought what that technical guidance memo from Attorney General Suthers specifies. Boczkiewicz reports this injunction as some kind of "compromise offer" from Hickenlooper, when in fact it would be a major victory for everyone who supports a sane and orderly implementation of this new law.

And that is why Kopel opposes this injunction–the only factually correct part of Boczkiewicz's ridiculous story. And think about that for a moment–why would Kopel oppose something that would limit the enforcement of this bill to a reasonable standard defined by a fellow Republican? The only possible reason: he doesn't want a reasonable interpretation. It's bad for fundraising.

As for the rest of the Colorado media, the same media that breathlessly stenographed Kopel's every word about this bill, in most cases without even the most rudimentary fact-checking?

At some point, they're going to have to admit how shamefully wrong they got this. 


28 thoughts on “BREAKING: Major, Misreported Developments In Gun Lawsuit

  1. I'm ashamed of the Chieftain's coverage on this. It strikes me as deeply disingenuous…even for a conservative newspaper. Governor Hickenlooper has NEVER indicated that he would enforce the magazine ban the way Caldara, Kopel and their clown car cronies have said he would. NOW, Hickenlooper is literally asking for a legally binding decision that would CONFIRM his method of enforcement and the Chieftain paints it as some kind of concession???

    Bullshit is right!

  2. If the law is so great why does he need a court order to "clarify?"

    The mag ban was horribly written. That's all that matters. Hickenlooper is playing CYA.

    1. It needed to be clarified because of lies and distortions put out by the NRA and folks like you, to terrify folks like you.  It wouldn't be necessary if there weren't so many lies and distortions.



      1. No. It needed to be clarified because it is horribly written and probably unconstitutional.

        This is meant to head off a REAL temporary injunction from the sheriffs that would completely halt enforcement. Pols didn't report that because they are biased and afraid.

      2. Exactly, since the likes of Immoderatus and ArapGoof continue to keep lying about it. If it weren't for the clowns, no clarification would be needed. As far as portraying it as some sort of compromise, why did they want to do that?  That (even though untrue) would seem to make it look a little more reasonable to the Wackistaners and don't they want to keep the hysteria unadulterated? Or is their desire to brag abut forcing (not) a compromise too irresistible, even if it weakens fund raising rage a little?

        Colorado media certainly sucks with a very few exceptions.

      1. EF, you do yourself no favors by asking disingenuous questions. You're a lawyer. You know that every law has attached regulations that are drafted after legislation is passed. 

        I am surprised, though, to see you siding with the mass murder lobby.

        1. "Mass Murder Lobby" – seriously?  Oh I get it it – if you are pro-life it is ok to call Planned Parenthood the "Mass Murder Lobby" as well, or if you are pro-choice it is ok to call Focus on the Family the "religious extremist nutjob lobby" (heavy sarcasm with that sentence).  

          Seeing stuff like your comment makes me chuckle when I see progressives complaint about the decline in political tone over the past years. 

              1. Has anyone ever raised an issue you'd care to address? You know if you run for something you really are going to have to  answer a direct question with a direct answer at least once in a while. I can just picture you in a debate…wait…no I can't. If it had you in it, it wouldn't be a debate.

  3. Wingnut: "Guv is doing such-and-such!!! guv is doing such-and-such!!! guv is doing such-and-such!!! guv is doing such-and-such!!! [we're gonna secede from Colorady 'cuz the guv is doing such-and-such!!! ] guv is doing such-and-such!!! "

    Guv: "I'm not gonna do such-and-such."

    Wingnut: "Guv weak to clarify he's not gonna do such-and-such!!!"


    November 5, 2014, Wingnut: "What?  Its not Greg Brophy in a Landslide?"

  4. So Kopel advises (based on the rumors I here) the Governor, the Governor issues the signing statement as a result, and then Kopel gets knocked for the Governor limiting the bill per his advice?  Seriously? 

    1. Elliot, seriously. Is this some kind of fucking joke?

      Do you really expect ANYONE to believe that the guy suing Hickenlooper over this law is advising him on the back side? That's absolutely ridiculous, and if it were true I think it would be a major breach of ethics. What would Kopel's clients say?

      The Guvs report that Kopel OPPOSED this motion. So he opposed the motion, but secretly advised Hickenlooper to file it?

      I believe you may have really flipped your lid this time, Elliot.

      1. How can you say that, Jeffco?.  After all, EF heard things. At least I think he meant that kind of hear. You don't mean  to say that's not a perfectly sound basis for his byzantine theory?  Follow that kind of thinking to its logical conclusion and all of rightie media and blogosphere would be out of business.

    2. Either way, if you can't prove something so shocking, why should anybody change their minds just because of something you "here?"

      Wingnuts losing it….

  5. The bill on mag limits could have been more artfully written. Many, including myself, commmunicated with Hick directly and through staff. It is also common for a Gov to issue a statement that clarifies intent of legislation. My communications to the Gov and his staff were intended to address the very few more or less legit concerns that I heard expressed; such as a shooter/hunter borrowing a gun.

    1. And now, those concerns have been addressed so I'm sure the lying and hysteria will stop. Yeah, right.

      Oh and welcome all those hunters who choose not to be hysterical on command. Will hunters who happily come to Colorado where they can enjoy the sport exactly as they always have be banished from Wackiwackiwackiwackistanstan, I wonder?

      1. I recently read a study, I can't remember where or find it on da google, but the jist of it was that partisan beliefs fall away when tangible rewards are on the line. IIRC, people were given a test and receved rewards commensurate with their score. The control group received no rewards. The rewards group scored significantly better. (I'll dig a little more and see if I can find the study – it was really interesting).

        Maybe hunters, faced with tangible rewards, know that all this NRA nonsense is just that. 

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