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Apr 3, 2013 8:37 PM by Andy Koen

Sheriffs criticize Colorado gun laws

DENVER - Sheriffs from more than a dozen Colorado counties held a news conference Wednesday to highlight what they see as flaws with the state's new gun control laws. The event was held a short distance away from the Denver Police Academy where President Obama held up the gun laws as an example of legislation that should be followed at a national level.

The elected lawmen and women believe Colorado's gun laws violate civil liberties and say they will not reduce gun violence.

"These laws extend overreaching powers to a government that fails on many fronts to protect its citizens," El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told a crowd of around 60 demonstrators.

The sheriffs call the laws impractical to enforce. As a demonstration Sheriff Maketa brought a pair of ammunition magazines. As he held them up he challenged the crowd and other sheriffs to determine at first glance which held more than the new 15 round limit.

He then handed the magazine to Fremont County Sheriff James Beiker and pointed out that such a "transfer" would violate the universal background check laws.

"It's that simple of a demonstration to show that law enforcement cannot practically investigate or help to send a prosecutable case to the district attorney," Beiker said.

The sheriff's also criticized the legislative push saying their concerns were largely ignored by democrats at the state capitol.

"Just wait a little while, take some time before you do this," said Custer County Sheriff Fred Jobe. "They was just on a rush and an agenda while the emotions were high."

Sheriff Maketa saved his sharpest words for the governor, questioning the maneuvering that let homicide suspect Evan Ebel out of prison early.

"This Evan Ebel is just one example of a failed system and a reaction by the legislature to make up for their inadequacies by taking away our rights," Maketa said.

A crowd of demonstrators that included at least 40 people bussed in from Colorado Springs rallied in support of the sheriffs.

"We're up here to support our sheriff," explained Ed Bircham who chartered the bus "He stuck his neck out and we're very proud of him today."

The sheriffs also offered their own solutions for limiting gun violence. Sheriff Justin Smith of Larimer County said officers need information in the field that would all them to disarm felons.

"Under the current system, officers on the beat have no access to a database, a list, of those prohibited by state or federal law from possessing firearms," Smith said.

Following the news conference, the demonstrators made their way to the state capitol to continue the protest.

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