GREELEY, Colo. — Erica Goode writes: When Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws, he holds up two 30-round magazines. One, he says, he had before July 1, when the law banning the possession, sale or transfer of the large-capacity magazines went into effect. The other, he “maybe” obtained afterward.
He shuffles the magazines, which look identical, and then challenges the audience to tell the difference.
“How is a deputy or an officer supposed to know which is which?” he asks.
Colorado’s package of gun laws, enacted this year after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., has been hailed as a victory by advocates of gun control. But if Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws — which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds — may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions.
Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.
WR Hawkins reports: Applications for concealed carry permits are skyrocketing in Weld County, Colorado, with applications from women in particular doubling. Sheriff John Cooke is thrilled about the numbers.
Weld is an important indicator in that it led Adam, Denver, and Boulder counties for concealed carry permit applications with 2,022 last year. It surpassed that number by March 2013, and Weld County has now processed 2,857 applications this year alone.
According to Greeley’s, The Tribune, the number of applications from women has increased from “an average of about 20 percent in recent years to an average of about 40 percent currently.”