By: Robert Davis
Colorado counties are passing local resolutions to become “Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties.”
This can be a very good thing, say gun rights leaders, but only when the local sheriff takes the lead in standing up to Democrat Gov. Jared Polis and the Democrats who now control the Colorado Legislature.
“Unless the county resolutions have real teeth – like barring funding for sheriffs’ offices enforcing any gun control laws – these become nothing more than county commissions grandstanding before an angry pro-gun constituency,” Dudley Brown, President of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, told Gunpowder Magazine in an emailed statement.
“Of course, if you have a sheriff like Steve Reams in Weld County who will stand up to unconstitutional laws, a county commission who will back him up can be very good,” Brown said.
Earlier this month, the Colorado House passed House Bill 1177, the pending state’s red flag gun confiscation law – labeled by politicians as “Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” or ERPOs.
The law would enable police officers and family members to petition a court to force someone they deem to be dangerous to surrender his or her weapons and undergo involuntary treatment for mental illness.
H.B. 1177, if it becomes law, would put law enforcement in a particularly tough position where they would need to decide whether to violate their oath to uphold the Constitution, or else face legal repercussions for being in contempt of a court order.
“Being a sanctuary county essentially means that the county will stand shoulder to shoulder with their sheriff,” Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams told GPM. “My county has basically told me that I’m not on an island while I fight against this disastrous bill.”
Reams has been a very outspoken critic of the red flag bill since it was introduced. Some of his main issues with the bill are that it doesn’t address the mental health of a respondent and only ensures their guns will be taken away without helping the respondent get treatment.
Reams helped the Weld County Commissioners draft their sanctuary county resolution, which included a measure that reads, in part, “…The board will not appropriate funds for capital construction of building space and purchase of storage systems to store weapons seized pursuant to the authority and requirements set forth in HB 19-1177 … and/or for the purpose of enforcing any other law that unconstitutionally infringes up on the fright to the People of Weld count to keep and bear arms.”
This is as much teeth as a resolution can have, Reams says. Since the county passes a resolution rather than a piece of legislation, a judge can still order Reams to enforce ERPOs if H.B. 1177 becomes law.
“At the end of the day, these sheriffs have to decide whether they are willing to violate the Constitutional rights of their constituents or deny a judge’s order and face contempt charges and fight a legal battle,” Reams said.
Fremont, Montezuma, and Weld Counties have passed Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions. Custer, Douglas, Teller, and Mesa Counties are currently considering passing similar resolutions within the week.
“Sheriff Reams is a pro-freedom hero,” Dudley Brown said. “He is standing for the Constitution against the illegal acts of a rogue legislature and governor. Every freedom-loving sheriff should follow his example.”
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips or comments at [email protected] or on Twitter @Davisonthebeat.
Photo courtesy of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page