Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. PolisAnnotate this Case
In response to high-profile mass shootings in the state, the Columbine High School shootings of 1999 and the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012. In both attacks, the shooters used large-capacity ammunition magazines. In response to the shootings, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB 1224 to prohibit the same, transfer or possession of any "large-capacity magazine." Plaintiffs Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (a Colorado nonprofit organization), the National Association for Gun Rights (a Virginia nonprofit organization), and John Sternberg, challenged this law as an infringement on the right to bear arms - not under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but under article II, section 13 of the Colorado Constitution. They argued that HB 1224 therefore operated to ban practically all detachable magazines, violating Coloradans' state constitutional right to bear arms in defense of home, person or property. To this, the Colorado Supreme Court disagreed, concluding Plaintiffs' interpretation of the definition of "large-capacity magazine" was inconsistent with the provision's plain text because it ignored the narrowing language, "designed to be readily converted to accept more than fifteen rounds of ammunition." The Court held that Plaintiffs failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that HB 1224 violated the state constitutional right. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the court of appeals.