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WASHINGTON, March 27 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) The ink has barely had time to dry on the United States’ newest gun control legislation – signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper last week – and hunters across the nation are wasting no time taking aim at the state and threatening a boycott in protest.
“The understanding that most sportsmen have is that second amendment rights shall not be amended, and any kind of legislation whether it be well-intended or not, is going to face a consequence,” said Chris Jurney, vice president of the Colorado Outfitters Association and owner of CJ Outfitters, in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“Gun owners are a very loyal group, and this particular legislation goes after law-abiding gun owners, so there’s been a unity among hunters this year against any laws that restrict our abilities,” he added. “A lot of people are saying they just aren’t going to come here, that it comes down to a basic infringement on second amendment rights.”
The new laws, which go into effect July 1, require background checks for online and private gun sales, and limit gun ammunition magazines to no more than 15 rounds.
Signing the legislation, Hickenlooper told reporters that high-capacity magazines "have the potential to turn killers into killing machines," and that "the potential for damage seems to outweigh, significantly, the inconvenience that people would have."
But Colorado is perhaps uniquely positioned in the national debate over gun control.
As a sportsman’s paradise, it has millions of acres of public land for hunting and an abundance of animal species that attract tens of thousands of avid hunters every year.
It was also the scene of a brutal mass shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora last July that killed 12 people and injured 58 others.
Hunters both inside the state and elsewhere say they object to what they see as an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
“We have everything here, elk, mule deer, white tail deer, black bears, mountain lions, moose. We are the premier hunting destination in the US and we’ve heard from people who say, ‘we aren’t going to hunt in Colorado any more, we aren’t going to fish in Colorado anymore,’” said Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“It’s not that they are frustrated with the hunting laws, they are frustrated with the political decision that was made,” he added.
Michael Bane, who produces four national cable television shows for The Outdoor Channel, including “Gun Stories” and “Rapid Fire,” announced he was pulling his productions out of Colorado.
Jurney said he and other outfitters have already heard from hunters who plan to cancel trips later this year.
“The reality is Colorado is the only state that sells over-the-counter elk licenses for out-of-state hunters. We typically have a waiting list, so we anticipate if some people decide not to hunt here their places will be taken by those in line behind them,” Al White, director of the Colorado Office of Tourism, told RIA Novosti.
“There seem to be people who are suggesting they’re not coming, but there may be other people who are coming because the gun laws are sane here,” he added.
Jurney is not convinced. “To restrict law abiding citizens is not the answer,” he said. “This has the potential to be a very big impact on Colorado.”
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