The fight against gun control suffered a setback in Colorado this month, when a lawsuit against the State of Colorado over recent changes in gun law was dismissed for lack of standing.
Back in 2013, shortly after the passage of the house bills banning guns capable of using more then 15 rounds of ammunition, as well as requiring universal background checks for gun buyers and owners, a lawsuit was filed against Governor Hickenlooper and the State of Colorado.
The laws were passed as a response to the infamous shooting at an Aurora theater by James Holmes at the late-night showing of “Batman: The Dark Night Rises”
A group, consisting of The Colorado Outfitters Association, Outdoor Buddies, Women for Concealed Carry, and other gun-rights groups including local sheriffs, sued Governor Hickenlooper challenging the constitutionality of the bills.
When the federal court judge in charge of the suit dismissed the case in 2014 for lack of standing, but they immediately appealed to the 10th Circuit Court.
The suit argued that by causing law-abiding Coloradans who owned certain kinds of guns to endure additional scrutiny the state was violating their Second (the right to bear and keep arms) and Fourteeth Amendment (the right to equal protection of the laws) rights. They also argued that it violated the Americans with Disabilities act. They posited a hypothetical situation where a disabled American wanted to borrow a firearm from a friend for a day of legal hunting, suggesting that under a new law, the background check would make it difficult for such a person to borrow the firearm if they have a disability.
The plaintiffs from the local sheriffs departments argued that the new laws criminalized some of their basic job duties. An example they gave was the simple transfer of a gun used at a crime scene to a lab.
On Tuesday March 22nd the case was heard by a three-judge panel and dismissed for several reasons, primarily, a lack of legal weight. The spokesperson for the panel, Nancy Moritz wrote that: ” The mere possibility that ‘some day’ a member of Outdoor Buddies might wish to obtain or retain a firearm before or after a hunt and that he or she might then experience difficulties obtaining the requisite background check is insufficient,” in response to the scenario involving hunting. They also said that because Outdoor Buddies did not bring the case on behalf of its members, it did not have constitutional standing.
Their findings were similar in regard to the ADA violation, saying that the claim had to be brought specifically by a disabled individual.
Finally, they struck down the Sheriff’s complaints with this statement: “We find any threat of prosecution based on the sheriff’s’ performance of their official job duties to be purely speculative,” Moritz wrote. The told the plaintiffs that the transfers the sheriffs described was not going to create a cause for litigation against the Sheriffs making the transfer.