Routt County Sheriff Wiggins will not join lawsuit against Colorado gun laws

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Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins

— Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins is not one of the 37 Colorado sheriffs who have signed onto a lawsuit challenging the gun laws recently passed by the state Legislature.

The Denver Post reported Tuesday that more than half of the sheriffs in the state are joining the lawsuit that is being organized separately from the group that represents sheriffs, County Sheriffs of Colorado.

“I am not one,” Wiggins said about whether he was part of the group of sheriffs that had joined the suit.

“They’ve kind of taken the reins on this thing,” he said. “And I’m going to remain neutral and kind of sit back and watch.”

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said the lawsuit, which is being handled by attorney Dave Kopel, still has a number of issues to be worked out.

“Our attorney is preparing an executive summary for those that are staying neutral right now,” he said.

Other than challenging the laws on general Second and 14th Amendment grounds, the specific venue and complaint of the suit have not been determined.

Cooke said Kopel is meeting with other plaintiffs and hopes to complete the executive summary soon after.

“It was pretty clear what was going on,” Cooke said about the group of sheriffs that traveled to Denver to testify against gun control legislation. “It was clear the Legislature didn’t really care what we had to say.”

After the board of County Sheriffs of Colorado declined to organize the lawsuit, Cooke said, he and other individual sheriffs decided to move forward themselves.

Cooke compared the law limiting magazines (House Bill 13-1224) to being denied tires for a car. So many magazine can be modified, which the law outlaws, that it renders the guns that take them unusable, he said.

The law grandfathers older magazines, but Wiggins previously has said the lack of dates on magazines complicates enforcement of the law.

Cooke also said the law is so vague and poorly written that it could be considered unconstitutional on 14th Amendment due process grounds.

The list of sheriffs who’ve signed onto the lawsuit still is confidential, he said, but will be made public when the suit is filed.

“I think a lot of people are just waiting to see the executive summary,” Cooke said. “I think it’ll go up.”

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz did not return calls seeking comment.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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