A Colorado Sheriff would rather go to jail then enforce a new gun control measure that is set to go into effect next year.
The Extreme Risk Protection Order, also known as the Red Flag Bill, allows family members, roommates, or law enforcement officials to petition a judge to have a person’s firearm taken away if the person requesting the petition feels they are a risk to themselves or others.
The bill passed the State Senate on Thursday of last week. From there it is expected to pass in the democrat controlled House of Representatives before heading to Governor Polis’ desk, who is also expected to sign the Red Flag Bill into law.
But Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams Says he refuses to enforce the measure under any circumstances. And he is willing to go to jail to up hold his beliefs.
“It’s a matter of doing what’s right,” he said.
This latest gun control measure comes in the wake of the death of 29-year-old Zack Parrish, a Douglas County Deputy who was killed in 2017 by a man with a history of instability and threats to police.
Parrish is remembered fondly for his use of humor to de-escalate situations, reportedly telling a CCW permit holder who announced he was armed during a traffic stop,
“If you don’t move yours, I won’t move mine. We go a deal?”
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, Parrishs’ former boss, is a vocal proponent of the legislation, saying he believes the measure could have prevented the death of his deputy.
And Democratic House majority Leader Rep. Alec Garnett who sponsored the bill, said he’d sleep fine if Reams goes to jail for refusing to enforce the bill.
“What I’m going to lose sleep over is, if that’s the choice that they make and someone loses their life, someone in crisis goes on a shooting spree, (or) someone commits suicide (because they have access to a firearm).”
Those against the gun control measure think the Red Flag Bill’s intention of taking firearms away from those who are unstable is a good idea, however, because of the way the bill is written it provides far to much risk to be used with bad intentions.
David Kopel, a constitutional law expert and author of The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? told MSN it’s possible for someone to report another person they are planning to target violently to ensure they are unarmed.
And Sheriff Reams contends that just the act of sending officers to remove weapons from the home of unstable persons, puts the officers at unreasonable risk to accomplish little, when that person can simply commit the crimes in other ways if desired.
“Going in and taking their guns and leaving the scene, I can’t see how that makes them less of a risk. It just takes one tool away,” he said.
Garnett again waved off the Sheriffs comments on the Red Flag Bill,
“The opposition is always there. It will always be there and there’s nothing, there’s no amendments or any changes that could be made to bring the sheriff from Weld County onboard,” he said.
And the opposition is certainly there with 32 Colorado counties (including Sheriff Spurlock’s Douglas County) declaring themselves 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries and who, like Sheriff Reams, vow that no money or resources will be dedicated to enforcing the bill.
“We’re putting a line in the sand for what we believe right now is support (for) constitutional laws,” Douglas County Commissioner Roger Partridge said at a meeting about the legislation in March.
John Campbell, a law professor at the University of Denver, told MSN he believes legal repercussions could come to a law enforcement official who refuses to enforce the law and a person goes on to commit a crime with unseized firearms.
Campbell also said that he thinks Sanctuary Counties are, “… more of a political move than it is a legal move.”
The Red Flag Bill, which passed by a single vote with no republican support, is slated to go into effect next year, and El Paso County has already said it will launch a legal challenge as soon as the bill becomes law.
While Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement he is, “… confident that when and if the time comes, all law enforcement officials will follow the rule of law.”
Reams remains dogged in his convictions,
“I’ve explained that time and time again,” he said. “I’m not bluffing.”
What do you think of this Red Flag Bill? Leave a comment below to let me know.