Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Firearms sellers testify about background check burdens, call new laws unconstitutional

By Megan Schrader Updated: April 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm 0

DENVER - The first week of a trial about two new Colorado gun laws concluded Friday with the plaintiff resting and the state calling the first two witnesses from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

At issue is whether two provisions in Colorado's new gun laws - the ban on high-capacity magazines and the requirement for gun sellers to perform background on customers - are outside the Second Amendment's realm of "reasonable restrictions."

The state says that the new laws are not only reasonable restrictions but important public safety measures.

James Spoden, administrator for CBI's background check department, testified Friday about the number of background checks that are conducted for the private transfer of firearms every year.

Spoden said the licensed federal firearm dealers who oppose the laws and are party to the lawsuit have conducted just over 100 background checks on gun transfers since the new law took effect.

However, that figure likely includes a significant number of background checks for private transfers at gun shows, as well as transferred occurred across state lines.

Both are types of background checks that were required prior to the new laws.

Gun sellers have frequently complained that licensed firearm dealers avoid the background checks because they cost much more than the $10 fee they're allowed to charge buyers, who already have a $10 background check fee tacked onto gun prices.

Spoden said he has seen signs at gun shows offering free private-transfer background checks.

During cross examination, Spoden said it appeared background-checks numbers for private transfers had actually declined compared to peak gun-sale seasons prior to the new laws.

Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director Ron Sloan is scheduled to testify Monday when the trial resumes.

U.S. District Court of Colorado Chief Judge Marcia S. Krieger is presiding over the case, which is expected to last through Friday.

Krieger will likely take time to consider the evidence before issuing a written decision.

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Contact Megan Schrader

719-286-0644

Twitter: @CaptiolSchrader

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