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3/28/2013 Sheriff Jobe weighs-in on Colorado's new gun laws

Custer County sheriff Fred Jobe has explained what he thinks about the three new gun control measures Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law last week.

The three laws ban gun magazines that have a capacity of more than 15 rounds, require background checks for all firearm sales, including private ones, and impose a fee on all background checks. The new laws go into effect July 1.

Jobe said he recognizes that gun violence has been a contentious political issue in the state and across the nation, especially due to the most recent mass shooting in which a lone gunman killed 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last December.

Additionally, noted Jobe, in August 2012 a lone gunman opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, killing 12 people and injuring over 50 more.

Jobe agrees that the mass shootings are a horrible tragedy, and that it is important to keep guns out of the hands of those who would use them to do harm to others.

“But I don’t believe the new gun legislation will do that,” said Jobe.

Jobe said that in the country of Mexico the only folks allowed to legally carry guns are law enforcement officers.

“The general citizens don’t have guns,” said Jobe, “but the gangs and cartels do.”

According to statistics provided by Jobe, there have been 50,000 murders in Mexico since the year 2000.

Additionally, Jobe said he feels that the state legislature was in such a rush to get some gun control laws passed that not enough research and homework was done.

“They didn’t listen to law enforcement and others,” said Jobe.

“For example,” said Jobe, “any clip in which the bottom can be opened up is illegal beginning July 1.”

Jobe, who owns such a gun, said that such clips are manufactured that way to make it easier for the consumer to keep them in good, working order for safety.

The new law, said Jobe, prohibits the manufacturing of clips with those removable front plates.

“The governor and legislators were given this information but they chose to sign the law anyway,” said Jobe.

Additionally, said Jobe, clips do not have serial numbers on them like guns do so it is going to be difficult to prove when and where a clip was purchased.

(Beginning July 1 when the new laws go into effect, Colorado manufacturers will be required to have some sort of identity stamp on such clips.)

“In our country,” said Jobe, “You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but with the way the law is written, I think people are going to be guilty until they are proven innocent.”

Additionally, said Jobe, if the clip is illegal, then the gun is basically useless.

“I already have people asking me what they can do with a gun they have had for 30 years and how are they going to prove that they had it and the clip before July 1,” said Jobe.

“It is going to be difficult for an owner to sell a gun that uses such magazine clips or to pass such a gun down to a family member,” said Jobe.

 “The new law banning these gun magazines are going to be difficult to enforce,” said Jobe.

Jobe also said he felt the new laws would be detrimental to the state’s hunting.

“Out of state hunters will look at going elsewhere to hunt because they are fearful of Colorado’s new laws,” said Jobe.

Jobe said he believed that would have a negative impact on the state’s economy.

Jobe also said he believes that current Colorado gun and ammunition manufacturers will close up shop and move such businesses elsewhere. “That will also have a negative impact on Colorado’s economy,” said Jobe.

Furthermore, said Jobe, the more stringent background checks will only be a burden to law abiding citizens.

“Criminals will still get their guns,” said Jobe.

Jobe also noted that his office is seeing an increase in concealed weapon permits. “In 2012,” said Jobe, a total of 60 folks came in to apply for a new concealed weapon permit. So far in 2013, that number has already reached the 2012 one.”

Jobe said unlike other sheriff’s offices around the state, his department still allows folks to come in without an appointment to drop off applications to keep up with the increase.

However, often times folks are asked to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting as jail staff is sometimes busy with other duties.

Additionally, said Jobe, there is a longer wait time, four to six weeks, for Colorado Bureau of Investigation clearance for background checks.

Jobe concluded by saying he did not think the new guns laws were passed in an effort to reduce gun violence.

Instead, said Jobe, “It is strictly about gun control. It is a stepping stone because the people passing these gun laws will go further.”

Jobe said a few years ago he told himself that if everybody had to give up some rights to save some lives, then he was in favor of such.

“But now that some time has passed,” said Jobe, “I don’t believe the laws just passed will have an impact on gun violence.”

“I believe that giving up our rights will not reduce crime,” said Jobe. – Nora Drenner