DENVER – The Colorado House Judiciary committee is hearing testimony today about new legislation that would enable law enforcement officers or family members to ask a court to temporarily remove the firearms of a person who could be a danger to themselves or others.
If a court approves an order to seize weapons from someone deemed a risk, they would be allowed a hearing up to 364 days later to determine if their weapons should be returned or the order extended.
13 states currently have this type of law on their books. A similar bill introduced last year was defeated by Republicans strongly against the concept. This year could be different as the House, Senate and Governor’s office are in control of elected Democrats.
News5 will keep you updated on arguments for and against HB19-1177 as it is under consideration by the committee. There is a packed room for the event which got underway at 1:30 p.m.
So far the following have testified in favor of the bill: the sponsors, representatives from Mental Health Colorado, Douglas County Sheriff Spurlock, Boulder County Sherff Pelle, the sister of a woman killed in the Sandy Hook shootings, John Walsh (former Colorado US Attorney), and three young women. One woman spoke about her brother’s struggle with mental illness until his suicide last year.
The Extreme Risk Protection Orders bill, more commonly known as a Red Flag Law, is sponsored by freshman Rep. Tom Sullivan, (D) of Centennial. He lost his son Alex in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. He’s joined by House Majority Leader Rep. Alec Garnett, (D) Denver, Sen. Lois Court, (D) Denver, and Sen. Brittany Pettersen, (D) Lakewood.
During a media event last week, Rep. Sullivan introduced the Deputy Zackari Parrish III Violence Protection Act, named after the Douglas County deputy shot and killed on New Year’s Eve 2017 by a mentally ill veteran named Matthew Riehl. Riehl’s mental health concerns were known to his relatives, doctors, and law enforcement prior to shooting.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock is among the supporters of the measure. As he spoke before the committee he commented that today would be Deputy Parrish’s 31st birthday.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has come out against the bill, declaring it will “do nothing to prevent another Columbine, Aurora, or Parkland.” The group condemns the legislation stating it is “designed to strip gun owners of their lawfully owned property, without due process, violating both their Second and Fifth Amendment rights,” says RMGO Executive Director Dudley Brown.
Brown is joined by Weld County Sheriff Reams and retired Castle Rock Police Commander John Anderson is voicing their opposition to the bill.