- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2019

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed Friday a hotly debated red-flag bill allowing courts to order firearms confiscated from those deemed an extreme risk to themselves or others, stoking an already fiery campaign to recall Democratic state legislators.

“It’s a critical tool for families, for judges, for law enforcement to help reduce gun violence consistent with our Second Amendment rights,” said Mr. Polis at the signing ceremony.

His assurances did little to mute opposition to the measure in Colorado, where a political structure increasingly dominated by Democrats has repeatedly clashed with the state’s entrenched hunting and gun-ownership culture.

Even before it was signed, the red-flag bill had provided fodder to the recall movement launched last month over frustration with a host of Democrat-backed bills, including the National Popular Vote and crackdown on the oil-and-gas industry.

The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners recently unveiled its #RedFlagRecall campaign aimed at ousting vulnerable Democratic state legislators based on their support for the gun-control bill.

“We’ve got to toss some Democrats out of office right now,” said RMGO president Dudley Brown on Facebook Live.

He named Democratic state Rep. Rochelle Galindo, who voted for the red-flag bill. Recall petitions are already circulating over her support for the drilling restrictions despite representing a district in Weld County, the state’s top energy producer.

Colorado Republicans pointed out that House Bill 1177 passed with no GOP votes — and several Democratic votes against it — while at least 36 counties and municipalities have voted to oppose the bill or become Second Amendment sanctuaries.

“With his signature, the Governor weakened our 2nd and 4th Amendment Rights, compromised our right to due process, and will force our sheriffs across the state to decide whether to uphold the United States Constitution or to turn their backs on the oath they took when accepting their elected position,” said the Weld County Commissioners in a statement.

At least one law-enforcement official, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, has said he will not enforce the red-flag law over concerns about due process. The Denver and Aurora police unions have also come out against the measure, which takes effect in January.

Those supporting the bill include Democratic state Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, whose deputy Zackari Parrish III was slain in 2017 by a shooter whose deteriorating mental-health condition was known to law enforcement.

“It is not enough to say we’re sorry. That’s why we have this bill,” said Democratic state Sen. Lois Court, one of the bill’s sponsors. “I am totally confident, absolutely confident that it will save lives, and that is the sole goal of this bill.”



The Democrat Polis, who took office in January, said he expected the law to be used 100 to 150 times a year, based on the experience of the 14 states and the District of Columbia with similar laws.

“This law will not prevent every shooting, but it can be used in a targeted way to make sure those who are suffering from a mental health crisis are able to temporarily have a court order in place that helps make sure that they don’t harm themselves or others,” said Mr. Polis.

The Douglas County Commissioners posted a video Friday reiterating their concerns with the law’s implications for due process. Several county officials have said they plan to undertake a review of the measure’s constitutionality.

“The issue for us is not whether those with mental illness who pose a risk should have their gun rights restricted. That is already a well-settled law that we support,” said commissioner Abe Laydon. “What is in question with the new red flag law is the entire process that results in guns being removed and whether that process upholds your constitutional rights.”



Under the measure, a family member, domestic partner, roommate or law-enforcement officer may petition a judge for a temporary order to remove firearms from someone deemed at risk for causing injury based on a preponderance of the evidence.

A hearing would be held within 14 days, with the potential to extend the order for 364 days.

Colorado has a recent history of ousting Democratic state legislators over firearms issues: In 2013, two state senators were recalled, and a third stepped down after being targeted for recall, over their support for sweeping gun-control measures.

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