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‘Red Flag’ bill with amendments passed by House, heads to Gov. Polis

Posted at 10:56 AM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 19:31:17-04

DENVER – The Colorado House has approved of the Senate amendments to the Extreme Risk Protections Order. The bill will now head to Governor Jared Polis for his signature to enact the bill into state law.

If signed into law as expected, there would be a legal process to allow law enforcement officers or family members to ask a court to temporarily remove guns from the possession of a person 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.

Commissioners in roughly half of the counties in Colorado have passed measures in opposition, some now considering themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.”

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As the bill moved through the Colorado General Assembly, many sheriffs spoke out against the bill. The Aurora Police Association joined the Denver Police Protective Association last week in voicing opposition.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser supports the measure. “I believe the Heller Decision is quite clear, the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not absolute,” Weiser said.

Opponents have referenced the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which in part provides protections for due process.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

There’s also an argument in opposition which references illegal search and seizure, which we are protected against by the Fourth Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Supporters of the bill include Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock. Spurlock’s office lost Deputy Zackari Parrish on New Year’s Eve 2017 when he was shot and killed 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 and Sheriff Spurlock has publicly stated his belief that a red flag law, sometimes called a gun restraining order, could have prevented the violence.

RELATED:

Sanctuary movement raises the question about enforcement of ‘Red Flag’

Sheriff Elder: Deputies must follow the law even if he disagrees with “Red Flag” bill

House Majority Leader Garnett says ‘Red Flag’ bill protects due process

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