DENVER – The House Appropriations committee has approved of the Extreme Risk Protection Orders bill (HB19-1177), advancing the measure for a vote in the full House.
The committee made an amendment calling for the appropriation of $119,392 to the judicial department from the general fund in order to pay for “court costs, jury costs, and court-appointed counsel.”
If signed into law, the bill would allow law enforcement officers or family members to ask a court to temporarily remove guns from a person if they’re determined to 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 where the order should be extended.
Thirteen states currently have this type of law on their books. A similar bill introduced last year was defeated by Republicans, who held the majority in the Colorado Senate. This year could be different as the House, Senate and Governor’s office are controlled by Democrats.
The bill is sponsored by freshman Rep. Tom Sullivan, (D) of Centennial. He lost his son Alex in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. He was joined by House Majority Leader Rep. Alec Garnett, (D) Denver, Sen. Lois Court, (D) Denver, and Sen. Brittany Pettersen, (D) Lakewood.
Sheriffs around the state came out on both sides of the bill during the debate. Some said they believe it would be good for public safety, especially in cases of domestic violence. Others expressed concerns about seizing guns from otherwise innocent people, with no due process.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock is among the supporters of the measure. Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, and Weld County Sheriff Reams have voiced opposition to the bill.
This week the county commissioners for Fremont and Custer County have passed resolutions declaring their jurisdictions as Second Amendment Sanctuaries.
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.
The Custer County Sheriff’s Office posted the following on their Facebook page this afternoon:
The bill as currently written is in direct conflict with provisions of Due Process, as outlined in the 4th Amendment, and contradict the right to bear arms. This Resolution reinforces the US Supreme Courts affirmation of citizens Rights under the 2nd Amendment. We are thankful to our commissioners for taking a strong position for the citizens of Custer County.