The Red Flag Bill, or, House Bill 19-1177 Extreme Risk Protection Order, was signed into law on April 12th by Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
While the bill will not got into effect until January 1st, 2020, opponents of the measure have made their displeasure known in the form of lawsuits.
Gun rights activist group, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) has filed a lawsuit contending the majority party failed to follow correct procedures when the bill was being discussed.
“Democrats used illegal and unconstitutional tactics and methods to push a bill that would remove the due process of our citizens. In other words, they violated due process at both ends,” founder and executive director of RMGO, Dudley Brown, said.
According to Republicans, their lawful request to have the bill read was met with trickery, and then flat out denied.
When Rep. Jovan Melton, the presiding Democrat house majority leader was asked to have the bill read aloud, several house clerks began reading the bill at the same time and from different parts in an effort to speed up the process, making an “unintelligible cacophony” according to Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Greeley, who’d requested the bill be read.
When it was asked for the bill to be read again by Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, the request was denied by Melton who stated simply,
“That motion has already been done and will not be considered.”
A Denver District Court judge sided with the Republican party when they sued Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo in March of this year for failing to read a different bill at length when it was requested.
However, the house majority contends these are only stalling tactics and question the true motives of the plaintiffs.
“No one came to me on the floor and said that they wanted the chair to do anything differently than what had been done,” Sen. Majority Leader Alec Garnett said. “This is not about what happened on the floor. This is about the gun lobby trying to unwind a very popular measure to help protect and save lives here in Colorado because they liked to build their name recognition and like to be in the news.”
Gov. Jared Polis whose campaign promises included pushing for the Red Flag Bill, said he feels this legislation is an important one for Colorado,
“This law will not prevent every shooting, but it can be used in a targeted way to ensure those who are suffering with a mental health crisis are able to temporarily have a court order in place that helps make sure they don’t harm themselves or others,” Polis said. “Many other states have passed similar laws they’ve often seen it used in a very targeted and limited way, 100 or 150 times a year. we expect a similar targeted approach here in Colorado.”
Other estimates by the nonpartisan Legislative Council Staff on how many Coloradans could be expected to be targeted by this bill reach up to 170 per year, or 3 per 100,000 residents could have their firearms confiscated for up to 364 days if a judge decides the situation warrants it.
HB19-1177 detractors say that while the idea of keeping guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people is fine, the law is written in a way to allow “dangerous loop holes” which could be used for unscrupulous confiscation of lawful citizens constitutionally protected firearms.
The poorly constructed bill has government officials in 38 of the 64 Colorado counties declaring themselves 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries where they will not abide by the Extreme Protection Order, and will not dedicate any resources to it’s enforcement.
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, one of the more vocal resistors of the bill, has said that he’d rather go to jail then put his deputies at risk to enforce an unconstitutional law by taking firearms away from unstable individuals, then leaving them to find other ways to commit their crimes.
“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.
What do you think about the Red Flag Bill? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think the solution should be.