Governor expected to sign gun bill, despite statewide opposition |

Governor expected to sign gun bill, despite statewide opposition

The debate around guns and mental health is heating back up after the Colorado Legislature passed a new bill allowing law enforcement to temporarily seize firearms from individuals posing a significant risk.

The Democratic-controlled Colorado Legislature sent a “red flag” gun bill to the governor’s desk Monday, despite widespread protests from counties and law enforcement officials across the state, including Routt and Moffat counties.

Gov. Jared Polis has already pledged his support for the bill, which passed along party lines from the House of Representatives this week. 

The bill allows family members, roommates or law enforcement to petition a court to take away someone’s guns for up to 14 days if a judge decides the person poses a risk to themselves or others.

Democratic lawmakers and supporters of the bill see it as a way to address the state’s growing suicide rate. Colorado lost 1,175 people to suicide in 2017, according to the Colorado Health Institute, which is the highest rate in state history. Guns were involved in more than half of those suicides. 

Opponents, including sheriffs from Routt and Moffat counties, argue the bill encroaches on Constitutional rights, namely the Second Amendment and due process.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams went so far as to say he would rather go to jail than enforce the bill. 

Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins has not been as extreme in his opposition to the bill, but he echoed the concerns of many who feel that an extreme risk protection order violates Constitutional rights. 

If a judge feels that a person still poses a threat after the 14-day protection order, the bill allows that judge to extend the seizure to a year. In that case, burden of proof rests on the gun owner, who must show they do not pose a risk to themselves or others. 

As Wiggins pointed out, that deviates from the usual rule of law.

Colorado counties that have passed resolutions opposing the red flag bill
  • Alamosa County
  • Archuleta County
  • Baca County
  • Bent
  • Cheyenne County
  • Conejos County
  • Crowley County
  • Custer County
  • Delta County
  • Dolores County
  • Douglas County
  • El Paso County
  • Elbert County
  • Fremont County
  • Huerfano County
  • Jackson County
  • Kiowa County
  • Kit Carson County
  • Lincoln County
  • Logan County
  • Mineral County
  • Moffat County
  • Montezuma County
  • Montrose County
  • Otero County (Otero has had a resolution like this since 2013)
  • Park County
  • Phillips County
  • Prowers County
  • Rio Blanco County
  • Rio Grande County
  • Sedgwick
  • Teller County
  • Washington County
  • Weld County

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