NewsCovering Colorado


Discussing the effectiveness of 'red flag' laws

Several sides weigh in on controversial law
Psychiatrist comments on Red Flag Laws
Posted at 10:35 PM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 00:35:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Governor Polis signed HB19-1177, an extreme risk protection order, back in April. The 'red flag' bill will take effect in Colorado on January 1, 2020. It's passage was one of the reasons behind recall campaigns against the governor, and has continued the national debate over gun control here in Colorado. News 5 spoke with people on both sides of the issue, along with a mental health professional, about the controversial laws.

A 'red flag' bill allows a family member or law enforcement to request the courts take away the guns of someone who is deemed a risk to themselves or other people. Paul Paradis, the owner of a local gun shop called Paradise Sales, said the 'red flag' law likely will not impact his store too much. "I expect that it's going to be by CBI and the FBI, that if it comes up in their record checks, that it's going to cause a denial for a person," said Paradis.

When asked about the extreme risk protection order, Paradis said "taking away their guns for a year? Is that going to resolve the problem? I doubt it. Is this just going to make them hide certain things and act more impulsively secretly?"

Moms Demand Action volunteer Julie Carr disagreed. "It can save lives, because it takes warning signs and keeps them from becoming tragedies... We want to end gun violence, it is possible to do that, we need good strong laws," said Carr. She also mentioned it will take more than just one law to end gun violence.

Dr. John Fleming M.D. is a psychiatrist and a distinguished life fellow from the American Psychiatric Association who said 'red flag' laws do not always work. "While they seem like they might work, the available research suggests that they don't really work," said Dr. Fleming.

Dr. Fleming also said a more comprehensive approach is needed, and suggested the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention get involved in trying to discover solutions. "Currently, unfortunately, the CDC is prohibited by Congress from looking at gun violence," said Dr. Fleming. He said he does not mean 'red flag' laws should be avoided, but said the solution is much more complex than that.

When the 'red flag' bill becomes law, a judge could place a temporary protection order for up to two weeks, until deciding at a hearing if a full protection order is approved. The full protection order would last for 364 days.