Organizer scraps shooting contest

Gun laws cast pall on idea, association leader says

A regional shooting competition that would have brought hundreds of folks to Montrose later this year has been scrapped—a direct casualty of new Colorado gun laws set to kick in just a few days before the competition, organizers say.

Local members of the International Defensive Pistol Association—a group with more than 17,000 members in at least 50 countries worldwide—had been planning a regional championship for July 4-6 at the San Juan Shooting Range in Montrose.

But new, well-publicized firearms restriction laws recently passed in the Colorado Legislature are scheduled to be in force starting July 1. That put the competition’s organizers in a bind.

“I’ve been working on this for a long time,” said Grand Valley resident Walt Proulx, event coordinator for the IDPA.

“But I needed to see if we could … in good conscience recommend that people come from other states and other countries without fear of running afoul of the law,” he said. “We just decided that, there’s just no way for us to be sure, and we’d be better off to just cancel it.”

Proulx said the impending limitations on magazine capacity would be the most problematic of the new laws, as it pertains to the upcoming event. The law bans ownership of any magazine with more than 15 rounds manufactured or purchased after July 1.

“If somebody were planning to come to the event—and for some reason needed to get new (15-plus-round) magazines for their Glock or their XD and they bought them on July 2 and hopped on an airplane and came here—they would technically be in violation as soon as they touched the ground,” he said.

Many pistols that competition shooters use, like the ones Proulx mentioned, come standard with magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

Another new law, requiring background checks on all gun transfers, could be problematic for shooters as well.

“If you borrow a gun from somebody, technically they’ve transferred it to you,” Proulx said. “And if you find yourself standing there with somebody else’s gun—that hasn’t gone to a dealer and been through a background check—technically you are in violation, as far as I can tell.”

“I can’t tell people, ‘No, you won’t get in trouble.’ I just don’t know,” he said.

Proulx admits that some people might see the cancellation as more of a political statement, but he insists that for him it was a practical matter.

“But I must say that I completely understand and support anyone who would choose not to come here as a boycott statement,” he said.

The bigger picture is more concerning for Paul Miller, who’s the owner and operator of the San Juan Shooting Range, where the event was supposed to be held.

“Colorado hasn’t seen anything until this fall when the hunters go somewhere else,” Miller said.

The IDPA’s regional competition is the second event to be publicly canceled due to Colorado’s new gun laws. Firearms maker Ruger recently announced they would move the planned 2013 Ruger Rimfire Challenge World Championships out of the state.



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