DENVER (CN) - After military and pro-gun witnesses testified Thursday, a retired police chief provided both sides of the argument on whether gun control hinders civilians' civil rights, in day four of a constitutional test of Colorado's gun control laws.
Gun shop owners and hunters testified Thursday, as well as law enforcement officers. Some of the witnesses were among the 31 plaintiffs who accuse Gov. John Hickenlooper and state agencies of infringing on their civil rights, in Federal Court.
Hickenlooper in March 2013 signed three bills into law, introducing universal background checks for gun-buyers, and limiting the size magazines civilians can use.
On Thursday, plaintiffs' attorney David Kopel called Ronald Abramson to the witness stand. Abramson is chairman and CEO of NEXT Gen Energy Partners and moonlights as a major in the Colorado Mounted Rangers.
The Mounted Rangers are a volunteer police force who act as backup for other law enforcement agencies. The Rangers have the authority of a regular police officers, deputies or troopers while on duty. But Abramson said they are not treated the same when buying a gun.
"None of the full law enforcement firearms are available to us," Abramson said.
As of July 2013, when the new regulations took effect, Abramson said, Mounted Rangers are considered civilians when buying a gun, and are limited to lower capacity magazines, with corresponding limits on guns.
Abramson said that using a gun with a small magazine can cause training problems for law enforcement officers.
"It's having a dramatic effect," he said. "We need to train and use the same firearms our law enforcement partners are using."
The next witness disagreed. Dan Montgomery is a former police chief of Westminster, a suburb of Denver, and works as a police consultant.
Montgomery said he knows a thing or two about threats and self-defense. "I think it is naïve to think there aren't potential threats out there," he said.
Montgomery said he has an alarm at home and carries a concealed weapon, whose magazine can hold fewer than 15 rounds.
"Have you ever seen a situation where a civilian needs to fire more than 15 rounds in the self-defense?" he was asked.
"No," Montgomery replied.
He was asked why civilians do not need high-capacity magazines but law enforcement does.
Montgomery said that law enforcement officers need to go out and "chase the bad guys." Civilians, on the other hand, are trying to protect themselves.
The defense indicated that they plan to rest next Wednesday or Thursday. The trial is expected to be completed on April 11.
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