Garfield County officials wave their own red flag over Colorado gun bill
As the red flag gun bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Jared Polis any day now, Garfield County officials appear set to oppose the impending state law that’s aimed at removing guns from the hands of those who are considered a danger to themselves or others.
On Monday, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario requested that the county commissioners establish the county as a Second Amendment sanctuary, joining other Colorado counties that have done so.
The bill, which passed the Democrat-controlled Senate and House mostly along party lines, creates the ability for a family, household member or law enforcement officer to petition the court to remove firearms from people deemed dangerous, according to the bill summary.
The petitioner must provide evidence that the person “poses a significant risk to self or others by having a firearm,” after which a judge can rule to prevent his or her possession, control and ability to purchase or receive a firearm for up to a year.
Joining other conservative law enforcement officials across the state, Vallario has spoken publicly in opposition of the bill, including making it the topic of his bi-weekly Facebook live message Just the Facts.
While he said he understood the intent to focus on mental health, “this bill is not the answer.”
He said it only focuses on the unconstitutional process of taking guns without due process.
“This bill is not good for Garfield County or Colorado,” he added.
He continued that sentiment later in the morning Monday when he petitioned the commissioners to make Garfield County a Second Amendment sanctuary.
“I think it is a statement by our county that we expect our Second Amendment rights to be protected and not by state legislature,” he told the commissioners.
Should the bill be signed into law as expected, he clarified he would be required to enforce it, though he did not agree with it.
Lauren Boebert, owner of Shooter’s Grill in Rifle, which famously allows open-carry for its restaurant staff, spoke in favor of making the county a Second Amendment sanctuary during the meeting.
“Our Second Amendment shall not be infringed, period,” she added.
Commissioner Mike Samson said he thought the bill was rushed and said it was a knee-jerk reaction.
“[It’s a] prime example where due process would be trampled on,” he added.
The legislation is formally titled the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill and is sponsored by Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, and Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver. Supporters call it a “life-saving bill to provide a critical tool to help prevent gun violence and suicide and protect families and first responders,” according a press release from House Democrats.
Rep. Sullivan’s son, Alex, was killed in the Aurora theater shooting in 2012.
“One of the reasons I ran for office was so I could tell all of you about my son Alex, who lit up rooms and was beloved, and so I could tell all of you about other victims and families of gun violence,” Sullivan said in a Monday statement when the bill passed out of the Colorado House.
“This bill will give law enforcement and families the tools that they need to stop tragedies from constantly happening and save lives,” he said.
Added House Majority Leader Garnett, This bill is supported by the majority of Coloradans because it will help save the lives of law enforcement and members of our communities.”
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