Lawsuit claims new Colorado law prohibiting ghost guns violates Second Amendment

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(The Center Square) – A Colorado law banning the manufacturing of so-called ghost guns violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a lawsuit filed by gun rights groups argues.

The National Association for Gun Rights, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and three of its members filed a 10-page complaint on Monday in U.S. District Court in Colorado, the same day some terms of Senate Bill 23-279 took effect. The bill was signed into law last June and several portions took effect immediately.

The law prohibits people from assembling a firearm unless they’re a federally licensed firearm manufacturer. It also prohibits possession, transportation, sale, purchase or transfer of an unfinished firearm frame or receiver unless it has an imprinted serial number as required by federal law. Firearms without serial numbers are frequently called ghost guns.

“Plaintiffs’ proposed conduct of acquiring and possessing unfinished frames and receivers and privately made firearms, including handguns, that cannot be traced through serial numbers is covered by the plain text of the Second Amendment,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit seeks to declare the Colorado law as unconstitutional, requests a temporary restraining order to stop enforcement of the law, and a permanent injunction to overturn the regulation.

“This law is an outright assault on the constitutional rights of peaceable Coloradans,” Tyler Rhodes, executive director of the RMGO, said in a statement announcing the action. “It’s not just an overreach; it’s a direct defiance to our Second Amendment freedoms. We believe that this law, much like others that attempt to restrict gun rights, will not stand up under scrutiny, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in Bruen.”

The Bruen decision is a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling stating New York’s public carry licensing law was unconstitutional. In a 6-3 decision, the justices found carrying a pistol in public was guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

“In the Bruen decision, the Supreme Court made it clear that any law infringing on the right to bear arms must align with the historical understanding of the Second Amendment,” Rhodes said. “Senate Bill 23-279 clearly does not meet this standard. If homemade – unserialized – guns weren’t legal at the time of our nation’s founding, we would all have a British accent.”

The complaint states the law violates the rights of individuals to lawfully create and possess homemade firearms. The complaint also mentions the classification of violations as a second or subsequent offense is a class five felony.

“Plaintiffs’ proposed conduct of privately manufacturing firearms, including handguns, is covered by the plain text of the Second Amendment, because the right to keep and bear arms implies a right to manufacture arms,” the lawsuit states.

U.S. District Court Judge Scott T. Varholak will preside over the case.

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