Hoy ‘wasn’t comfortable’ with suit

Joe Hoy

EAGLE — Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy last week decided not to join a lawsuit against Colorado’s new gun laws. As you’d expect, he’s getting e-mails.

“One called me a traitor to the cause,” Hoy said.

Hoy is one of 10 county sheriffs in Colorado who didn’t join the lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Denver. He said the decision not to join was difficult, “but in my heart I just wasn’t comfortable with it.”

Hoy cited several factors in his decision, in no particular order, including the lawsuit-happy nature of politics and public life these days. Then there’s the matter of just who’s going to pay the legal bills for the suit — Hoy wasn’t entirely sure that he, or county taxpayers, wouldn’t ultimately be on the hook for at least part of the legal costs.

Ultimately, though, Hoy said the new laws are, at least for the moment, legitimate laws of the state.

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“I have a responsibility in Eagle County to uphold all the laws, whether I agree with them or not,” he said. “I’ve taken an oath of office.”

That said, Hoy said he does have the authority to direct his department’s resources and priorities, and enforcement of the new laws will be low on those lists. That’s primarily because Hoy continues to believe the new gun laws are unenforceable.

While he’s getting e-mails, and will no doubt face some criticism at a May 25 “Second Amendment Rally” in Gypsum, Hoy said he’ll explain his position in detail to anyone who asks.

And, he said, there’s nothing to stop him — or the other sheriffs who declined to join in the suit — from filing “friend of the court” briefs in the future.

For now, though, “It’s up to the lawyers and courts to decide,” he said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at

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