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El Paso County votes to become 'preservation county' in response to red flag bill

El Paso County commissioners pass 2nd Amendment resolution

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - El Paso County voted to become a preservation county for the Second Amendment against the controversial red flag bill Tuesday.

Joining the list of growing counties opposing the bill is Douglas, and Dolores. There are now a total of 18 who have passed similar resolutions and another handful are considering one.

A big supporter of the El Paso County resolution is Bill Elder. He said, "our first move will be to obtain an injunction based on the fact that we firmly believe there a number of violations to the U.S. Constitution that if this bill is enacted and put in place."

In the audience were a handful of people against the resolution and for House Bill 19-1177. Many of them were from the anti-gun violence group, Moms Demand Action. Julia Carr, a volunteer for the group said, "if you have shown you're not responsible with your gun because you have threatened someone else or considered taking your own life, that's when this law helps us."

The red flag bill allows law enforcement to seize someone's firearms if they're deemed dangerous to themselves or the public.

The bill would allow family or law enforcement to seek a court order to have guns seized if they believe the gun owner poses a threat.

If a judge approves a request, a subsequent court hearing would determine whether to extend the seizure, up to 364 days. It's up to the gun owner to prove he or she no longer poses a threat to get the weapons back.

The bill was first introduced in the 2018 session and failed on party lines. Democrat state Rep. Alec Garnett has introduced it again this year.

During the El Paco County Commissioners meeting, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said the bill does not focus on mental health. District Attorney, Dan May is also in support of the preservation of the Second Amendment and is against the bill. 

People who oppose the bill say the burden of proof relies on the person who is being accused. 

If it is signed into law, El Paso County expects to challenge it in court. 

Commission Chair, Mark Waller said they are prepared for legal action if the bill is passed.

He explained, "listen, we don't think this should become law and we want to put you on notice that if it does, you're going to have issues related to that."

The Red Flag Bill has its next hearing on Friday before the Senate State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

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