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Hickenlooper doesn't have to submit to questioning in gun lawsuit

By Tom McGhee

The Denver Post

Sheriffs and other plaintiffs suing to overturn Colorado's new gun laws won't be allowed to question Gov. John Hickenlooper about statements he made after signing the laws, a federal judge has ruled.

In an order filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, Magistrate Judge Michael Watanabe ruled that the plaintiffs, who include 55 Colorado sheriffs, haven't shown that the governor's testimony could lead to discovery of evidence essential to the case.

The sheriffs filed suit, arguing the law's limits on ammunition magazines violate the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms. The plaintiffs want to depose Hickenlooper concerning, among other things, pronouncements he made about the alleged benefit to public safety afforded by the legislation, according to Watanabe's ruling.

High-ranking government officials generally have limited immunity from being deposed in matters about which they have no personal knowledge, Watanabe said. Those seeking deposition must demonstrate that the official's testimony will likely lead to discovery of admissable evidence that is essential to the plaintiff's case.

"Governor Hickenlooper has no direct enforcement role. Accordingly, his personal thoughts, opinions and beliefs, including any post-enactment statements, have no bearing on the ultimate questions of law on whether the challenged legislation meets constitutional standards," Watanabe wrote.

Tom McGhee: 303-954-1671, or

Read more: Hickenlooper doesn't have to submit to questioning in gun lawsuit - The Denver Post 
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