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El Paso County Sheriff's Office states stance on red flag law

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Posted at 3:14 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 06:47:21-05

EL PASO COUNTY — The El Paso County Sheriff's Office has put out their stance when it comes to enforcing extreme risk protection orders under the so-called red flag law.

The law passed by the Colorado General Assembly in 2019 allows for law enforcement to confiscate weapons after they or family members petition the court for temporary removal of firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.

When speaking to News5's Andy Koen last year, Sheriff Bill Elder said he believed House Bill 1177 would stomp on the civil rights of Coloradoans. Since that conversation in May, the bill is now law.

Read more: Sheriff Elder explains opposition to the red flag bill

In part, the department saying it is their policy to respect and protect the constitutional rights of all those it serves, adding it will ensure the right of the people to be free from unreasonable search and seizures along with their right to receive due process of the law.

As a result, deputies will not petition for extreme risk protection orders unless exigent circumstances exist and probable cause can be established that a crime has taken place or is being committed.

If deputies in El Paso County have to serve enforce an order, they will fully explain the contents and requirements, as well as request respondents surrender any firearms along with a concealed handguns permit, if issued.

Deputies are authorized to seize any firearms in "plain view" or that fall under the language of the court order.

One of three options will be offered: they can sell their firearms to a licensed dealer, arrange for storage at the sheriff's office, or in the case of an antique or relic, the person can request a transfer to a relative they do not live with.

If probable cause and a signed search warrant do not exist, deputies will not conduct a search for firearms.