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MILLER: Conn., Colorado gun owners file lawsuits to win back Second Amendment rights

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As quickly as gun-grabbing governors snatched away citizens’ Second Amendment rights, gun owners are filing lawsuits to get them back.

Individuals, retailers, gun-rights groups and manufacturers joined together in Connecticut and Colorado this week to take the 2013 gun-control laws to court. 

On Wednesday, plaintiffs filed suit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut challenging the constitutionality of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s dramatically-titled “Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.” The National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the plaintiffs. 

The Democratic governor signed the law on April 4 after using “emergency” procedures to rush it through the legislature, just four months after the Newtown shooting. Scott Wilson, the president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, one of the plaintiffs, told me in an interview Thursday that the law puts people in more danger. 

“They are trying to legislate utopia. They think passing a law and putting up these magical ‘gun-free zones’ will work,” Mr. Wilson said. “But it’s just an invitation for a killer to come in because there will be no resistance.” 

The parts of the law that went into effect immediately include government background checks for private gun transfers and bans on an additional 100 firearms models deemed “assault weapons” for having certain cosmetic features and ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. 

Mr. Wilson pointed out that that, “Anyone who walks into a classroom with magazines of 10 rounds will just as easily kill -- it’s just a couple seconds different than what Adam Lanza did.” 

The gun-rights group, which was started in 2009, went from 2,500 members before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to 7,700 members today. They are focusing their efforts now on fundraising in anticipation of costly litigation. 

In Colorado, a powerful coalition of plaintiffs — 54 county sheriffs, the NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Magpul Industries and disabled individuals — filed suit in U.S. District Court on May 17 to challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper's new gun-control regulations.

Starting July 1, there will be a ban on magazines over 15 rounds and an implementation of so-called universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers — conducted for a fee which gun buyers must pay. 

“Colorado’s federally-licensed firearms retailers are being asked to process private-party transfers as if they were selling from their own inventory. They’re being told to monitor both seller and buyer through a state-administered check process that can take hours or even days,” Lawrence Keane, NSSF’s general counsel, explained to me. “Our retailers won’t be able to recoup the actual cost of providing the service — which is capped at $10 — but they will be liable for paperwork errors and subject to license revocation.”

The industry lobbyist added that, “Not surprisingly, we expect few, if any, licensed retailers will step forward to provide this service.”

Other suits have also been filed in New York to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s flawed SAFE law. It’s only a matter of time until gun owners in Maryland follow the same judicial path for relief. 

While the Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on what limits there are to the right to bear arms, it was clear on the right to keep arms. Unfortunately, it takes years for these kinds of lawsuits to be decided and in the meantime, citizens are forced to live without their full Second Amendment rights recognized. 

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