Local Officials Stand in Opposition to Gun Control Laws Signed by Hickenlooper

Governor John Hickenlooper signed several controversial gun control measures into law on March 20, although more than a dozen counties and several towns across Colorado have recently passed resolutions expressing their intent to uphold citizens’ Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.

As debate leading up to final passage of HB13-1224, HB13-1228, and HB13-1229 raged at the capitol over the past two months, local officials from around the state rallied in opposition to the legislation. Nonetheless, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, placed his stamp of approval on the bills, which will expand background checks and limit all ammunition magazines manufactured, purchased, or possessed within Colorado to no more than fifteen rounds starting this July.

Since January, 15 of Colorado’s 64 counties have passed resolutions affirming their dedication to citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Resolutions were handed down by each county’s respective Board of County Commissioners, who assured local residents that they would do everything in their power to keep Coloradans’ rights to keep and bear arms from being further restricted.

The list of Colorado counties to sign pro-Second Amendment resolutions is as diverse as it is long, including some of the most populous counties in the state. El Paso County, Douglas County, and Jefferson County were among the first to sign declarations of support in late January and early February, expressing disagreement with Democratic lawmakers in Denver who they believed were using the unpopular gun control proposals as a way to thrust Colorado into the spotlight of a national firearms debate.

El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton explained, “I don’t have any doubt that we’re in the middle of a fight between liberty and tyranny, freedom and control between the Constitution and Washington,” Littleton said. “It’s unprecedented.”

“We’re saying: ‘Not in El Paso County. We’re going to stand up and protect the rights of citizens to bear arms to defend their freedom and their family.’?”

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa agreed, taking Littleton’s comments a step further by insisting the Second Amendment is simply “non-negotiable.” Sheriff Maketa published an open letter vowing to uphold the Constitution on the homepage of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office website.

Other county sheriffs have also spoken out against the push for more control from Denver, including Hinsdale Sheriff Ron Bruce, who told Hinsdale residents that he would protect Constitutional rights until his dying breath.

These sheriffs’ statements came just before the Colorado Sheriffs Association, a non-partisan association that represents all 62 of Colorado’s sheriffs, published a memo of universal opposition to the new gun laws proposed in the House and Senate.

Rural counties from all four corners of the state also expressed their desire to keep Colorado the firearm-friendly state it has traditionally been, and even individual small towns brought Second Amendment resolutions to the table.

The neighboring towns of Holly and Lamar in Southeast Colorado agreed last month to pass resolutions meant to bind all elected city officials against enforcing any state, national, or international law limiting Second Amendment rights. Residents in Lamar cheered and gave standing ovations to city council members as put pen to paper on the public promise, and the measures passed unanimously in both cities.

Likewise, nearly all of the resolutions signed by county commissioners were unanimous decisions.

Two Colorado towns broke with the majority and passed the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) resolution to enact strict gun control measures as a way of fighting crime and reducing gun violence. In January, the cities of Telluride and Golden – whose mayors are members of MAIG – issued statements asking for background checks and limits on magazine size.

Jefferson County, where Golden is located, still chose to pass a county-wide resolution against MAIG and in favor of the Second Amendment.

Colorado now faces a civil lawsuit from the Independence Institute in Denver, who announced their intuitions to file immediately after Governor Hickenlooper signed the bills into law. The Independence Institute claims the gun control measures are unconstitutional.

Jon Caldara, who heads the Institute, said its suit will be based on the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, among other grounds.

“The lawsuit will be brought on behalf of a large coalition of local and national law enforcement, including many of the Sheriffs who opposed the bills, disability rights organizations, gun safety organizations, civil rights organizations, and others,” Caldara noted. “We have said for years that Colorado is the national test case to turn a freedom-loving western state into a progressive strong hold. Today Colorado citizens learned the hard way that elections have consequences. Today our Governor cemented our path to become California.”

Counties that have passed resolutions of support for the Second Amendment:

  • Custer County
  • Douglas County
  • El Paso County
  • Fremont County
  • Grand County
  • Jefferson County
  • Kit Carson County
  • Mesa County
  • Moffat County
  • Montrose County
  • Otero County
  • Prowers County
  • Rio Blanco
  • Teller County
  • Weld County

Towns that have passed resolutions of support for the Second Amendment:

  • Town of Holly
  • Town of Lamar
  • City of Castle Rock


This story was updated at 1:45PM on March 21 to include the City of Castle Rock.

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