PALISADE, Colo.

The Cameo Shooting and Education Complex officially opened to the public in 2018, but now just days before a national shooting competition comes to Palisade, it’s the center of controversy over large capacity gun magazines. A letter sent out in April from Mesa County Sheriff Todd Rowell to General Manager Walt Proulx of the cameo complex details the difficulty of not only enforcing the law, but says the sheriff’s office won’t seek out competitors to see if their magazines meet the statute. State Senator Rhonda Fields representing District 29 says, “His behavior is reckless. He is violating the law, and there’s consequences when you violate the law.”

State Senator Fields is the sponsor of a bill passed in 2013 prohibiting the use of large capacity magazines in the state containing more than 15 rounds, but Sheriff Rowell defends his position. “I’m not interested to go out there, and start looking through people’s bags,” said Rowell. “These are people that are coming to our community to compete in shooting events. No, I have no intentions of going out there, and interfering with the range.”

An anonymous competitive shooter, received the letter which Rowell urged Proulx to share with competitors, then sent it on to the activist group called, Colorado Cease-Fire. Group member Eileen McCarron says, “What’s that say about a law enforcement officer for the county that he’s willing to go out, and put his name on a letter going to people across the country that he’s going to ignore the law because it’s hard to enforce.”

The law states a person may possess a large capacity magazine if they own it on July 1 2013, and maintain continuous possession. “It’s not something I’m prioritizing,” said Rowell. “Those people aren’t coming to our community to commit crimes. Those people are coming here to compete in a shooting event.” McCarron says, “If they have these magazines, and they haven’t had them in their constant possession for 9 years, then they aren’t law abiding citizens.”

Rowell stands by his position. “They come here from other events in states where they allow larger capacity magazine rounds. They come here, they do the shooting event, and they move on.”

State Senator Fields disagrees. “I believe he’s violating his code of conduct. So for me moving forward, I’m going to be looking at measures in reference to making sure that we’re doing everything possible to keep our communities safe.”

Rachel Gonzales with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which oversees the Cameo Shooting Range, confirmed to KREX last Friday, June 3 that large capacity rounds are illegal and that rangers would not allow them at the range.

Gonzales has yet to comment further after multiple attempts to reach her.