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New gun control legislation in Colorado could lead to gun seizure

A Colorado bill would allow the seizure of firearms from “high risk” individuals.

A Colorado bill that would allow the seizure of firearms from “high risk” individuals was heard Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee, after being reintroduced in the statehouse last week.

The bill, co-sponsored by House majority leader Alec Garnett, describes an extreme risk protection order which allows family, household member, or an officer to petition a judge to lawfully take away the weapons in possession by any arms-bearing individual.  Supporters, including several gun control groups, say it will help remove the threat of gun violence from people experiencing a mental health crisis.

 Garnett gun bill sponsor

Rep. Alec Garnett, House Majority leader, sponsored the “red flag” extreme risk protection order bill with three fellow Colorado Democrats.

This bill has undergone edits since its first proposal in 2018, when it was shut down in a Republican-majority Senate. Now, Garnett and co-sponsors Rep. Tom Sullivan, Sen. Lois Court and Sen. Brittany Pettersen, are trying again, and have extended the period of seizure to an entire year.

Garnett sponsored this “red flag” firearms bill in memory of Douglas County sheriff’s deputy Zackari Parrish, who was fatally shot as he tried to negotiate with a man in the midst of a mental health crisis. According to these lawmakers, the support of the police force is with this bill.

“What we are doing with this bill is giving law enforcement a tool that they need to save lives,” Sullivan said. “It gets the people who are having these difficult times the help that they need and protects their families and the community from them having a problem.”

Extreme risk protection order.

With an extreme risk protection order, a judge will hold a hearing with the individual petitioning for intervention, excluding the person of concern. A temporary seizure order lasts 14 days, during which the gun owner and family member or roommate will make their individual cases to the judge. The bill demands that a lawyer will be provided to the gun owner free of charge and the judge can request drug and alcohol as well as mental health evaluations.

If they decide to proceed with the order, the judge then determines a period of arms seizure that can be as long as 364 days. Throughout this period, the individual may appeal without restriction for the return of their arms.

A similar extreme risk protection bill was passed in Florida after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

The last gun legislation to pass in Colorado was in 2013, when Democrats enforced universal background checks and outlawed high-capacity magazines. For six years, no changes have been made.

Colorado Republican voters were polled in the first days of February, Magellan Strategies found that 60 percent support this law, while 33 percent oppose it.

This bill does not currently have any Republican sponsors, although two GOP representatives voted in favor of the earlier version presented last year. 

Colorado House Minority leader Patrick Neville was not among them.

“This is an even more draconian versatile of legislation than what we saw last year,” Neville said in a statement, according to the Denver Post. “In this version of the bill, innocent until proven guilty no longer exists.”


  1. Kurt February 21, 2019

    You might want to read the Supreme Courts Ruling on confiscations for profit. I doubt this law will pass. If you read the civil liberties union article on the purposed law the title misrepersents itself, and as the police have to return the weapons after a hearing if the plaintiffs full of baloney. There is no time frame on that. It sounds like a bill set out to victimize any gun owner that some one wants to point a funger at.

  2. Rj Schultz February 23, 2019

    If this legislation passes people will die! some innocent people will fire on those who would come to remove the weapons. Some on both sides will be shot. Those judges that would compel the weapons removal may be targeted. Certainly those legislators voting for this removal of due process will also be targeted. Recallls can happen and have before remember Angel Giron. I would vote to not sacrifice a little liberty for security as Benjamin Franklin once said we will lose both.

  3. Doug Culver February 23, 2019

    What absolutely ridiculous legislation this is. Colorado politicians who support this need to find a real job!

  4. MAGA February 23, 2019

    It will happen if Colorado is full of cowards. All they need to do is stand up to those fool law makers and demand they not pass it. They pass bills like this because the people do nothing. Don’t let them walk all over you.

    1. Walter Yeates February 24, 2019

      You say this as your name is MAGA. The POTUS and GOP Congress of the last session passed tax cuts which gave no relief to the middle and working class while it gave corporations and the top 10% tax cuts. That’s an actual example of being walked over, not the gun violence epidemic in this country.

  5. MAGA February 23, 2019

    “The bill demands that a lawyer will be provided to the gun owner free of charge and the judge can request drug and alcohol as well as mental health evaluations.” And they will give the gun owner the worse lawyer they can find.

  6. Rick February 23, 2019

    “According to these lawmakers, the support of the police force is with this bill.” As another member of the media, I wish you would have looked into, and reported on, which law enforcement officials don’t support this bill in its current form. I’m also not sure what “the police force” refers to. A new police state?

    I’ve seen comments regarding the 8th Amendment – what about the 4th?

  7. J February 27, 2019

    Im curious as to why they dont also propose this measure to include the seizure of the individual-in-question’s car?

    Because, statistically, and literally, a car is far more dangerous than a gun.

    Mentally at risk people should not be allowed to drive. Please send a sheriff to their house to confiscate their car.

    Sound like complete horsesh**?

    That’s because it is. All of it.

    This bill is damgerous overreach for the government. Its not up to them to decide who gets to he free and who doesnt.

    The right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed!


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