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Weld Sheriff's refusal to enforce gun rules within letter of the law

By: RYAN PARKER
March 18, 2013
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photo - Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, center, backed by a group of fellow sheriffs, testifies against proposed gun control legislation in the Colorado Legislature, at the State Capitol, in Denver, Monday March 4, 2013. State Senate committees began work Monday on a package of gun-control measures that already have cleared the House which include limits on ammunition magazine sizes and expanded background checks to include private sales and online purchases. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) Photo by
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, center, backed by a group of fellow sheriffs, testifies against proposed gun control legislation in the Colorado Legislature, at the State Capitol, in Denver, Monday March 4, 2013. State Senate committees began work Monday on a package of gun-control measures that already have cleared the House which include limits on ammunition magazine sizes and expanded background checks to include private sales and online purchases. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) Photo by  

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke says he won't enforce new gun-control measures, and legal experts say he won't be breaking the law.

Colorado police chiefs and sheriffs have local control and prioritizing how laws are enforced is their prerogative. While a lawsuit could be filed compelling Cooke or any other sheriff who declines to apply gun laws now on their way to the governor's desk, it is the voters who will ultimately decide their fates.

"He couldn't be punished for not upholding these laws, but he could be ordered by the court to uphold them," said Richard Collins, a University of Colorado Boulder law professor. "Whether anyone would bring a lawsuit to get the court to order him is pretty uncertain."

Read more here.

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