One of the most anticipated cases of the Colorado Supreme Court’s current session held oral arguments last week as a gun rights group continued its six-year push to get a gun restriction statute struck down.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners seeks to have Colorado’s ban on magazines containing more than 15 rounds repealed. But RMGO’s legal challenge is at its last resort, having suffered a loss at trial, and an appeals court decision last year affirmed the district court decision. At the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the justices grilled each arguing attorney on what standard the court should use to determine whether the LCM ban violates the Colorado Constitution.
Enacted in 2013, House Bill 1224 bans the sale, possession and transfer of “large-capacity ammunition magazines.” RMGO filed a lawsuit in state district court within months of HB 1224’s enactment, arguing that it infringes on Coloradans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
The large-capacity magazine ban challenge lost in state district court, where Judge John Madden IV upheld the statute as a “reasonable exercise” of the state’s police power. The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed in October 2018, setting up RMGO’s appeal to the Supreme Court.
RMGO also sued to have the state’s background check expansion repealed, but that claim was dismissed, and the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld that dismissal in 2016 in the case’s first appeal.
Questions came frequently at each attorney during arguments Wednesday, especially from Justices Richard Gabriel, Carlos Samour and Monica Márquez.
RMGO focused its challenge on the “Robertson” standard as it was used to justify the large-capacity magazine ban. Its arguing attorney, Barry Arrington of Arrington Law Firm in Denver, said the standard Colorado courts use to interpret the right to keep and bear arms can’t be narrower than the Second Amendment.