By: Robert Davis
Colorado’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed HB 1177, the state’s red flag bill, into law last week. The legislation will take effect in 2020.
“Everyone in law enforcement is scared of this bill,” Robert Wareham, a former law enforcement officer and current family law lawyer, told Gunpowder Magazine. “No one wants to go into a situation where they could lose their life, and this bill makes it much more likely that that will happen.”
The bill requires law enforcement to seize people’s weapons if a court finds that they are a danger to themselves or others based on a petitioner’s sworn affidavit. The court then issues a temporary protection order if it believes the respondent is dangerous and will continue acting dangerously.
A hearing must be held within 14 days of the initial protection order being signed. During that hearing, it is up to the respondent to prove that he is she is not a danger. The respondent must provide his own legal defense, even though he has not been charged with a crime.
If the respondent is found to be a danger by a court, he or she is prohibited from possessing, controlling, purchasing, or receiving a firearm for 364 days.
“How arrogant do these lawmakers have to be in order to pass a law they won’t have to enforce, while those that will have to enforce it are saying ‘NO?’” Lesley Hollywood, executive director of Rally For Our Rights, a Colorado-based gun rights group, told AmmoLand.com.
Both Denver and Aurora’s police departments have come out against the bill. More than half of the state’s counties have passed “Second Amendment Sanctuary” resolutions in response to the legislation as well.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock has been a vocal proponent of the bill, and now faces a recall effort to oust him from office.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, who disagrees with the red flag gun confiscation law so much, he’s willing to go to jail rather than enforce it.
“If a court order comes down telling a sheriff or deputy that they have to serve a red flag order, they have a choice to make,” Sheriff Reams told Gunpowder Magazine. “They can either go down the road of violating someone’s constitutional rights, or violate the court order, which would result in them sitting in jail for a period of time. Frankly, I’ll choose the later.”
Colorado is now the fifteenth state to sign a red flag bill into law. Twenty-nine other states, including Washington, D.C., are also considering such legislation.
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips or comments at RobertDavis0414@gmail.com or on Twitter @Davisonthebeat.