Colorado sheriffs protest new gun laws during Obama visit

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DENVER -- Hours before the president’s speech, more than a dozen Colorado sheriffs held a “pre-buttal” to speak out against the Colorado legislation.

Sixteen sheriffs held a noon news conference at Denver’s Fred Thomas Park — about a mile from Obama’s speech.

“We are here to provide a voice to the millions of honest, law-abiding Coloradans who were ignored by their governor as well as by the majority (Democratic) party at the State House,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said.

Smith accused Obama and fellow Democrats of exploiting the tragedies at Sandy Hook and Aurora and said the gun control bills passed by the Colorado legislature won’t prevent those events from happening again.

The sheriffs of El Paso, Weld, Elbert and Mesa counties (among others) took part in the rally.

Sheriffs are elected in Colorado and generally are Republican.

Smith of Larimer County said Obama’s visit was a “victory lap” and a “slap in the face to all Coloradans.”

The County Sheriffs of Colorado, an advocacy organization, has opposed the gun laws as well saying in a Position Paper Wednesday “gun control does not equate to lower crime rates.”

“CSCO will not waiver on our defense of the Constitution and will stand to preserve every constituent’s right to possess a firearm,” the paper said.

The Colorado Association of Police Chiefs however supports one of the new laws, including a ban on high-capacity magazines over 15 rounds and universal background checks for gun owners.

Broomfield Police Chief Thomas Deland, president of the association, has said the group supports the expansion of background checks because even though it won’t stop all illegal gun sales, it will stop the “many people who easily can possess a weapon who should not be allowed to do so.”