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Gov. Polis signs 'red flag' bill into law

Governor Polis signs red flag bill into law

DENVER - Gov. Jared Polis has signed House Bill 1177, also known as the extreme risk protection orders or the "Red Flag" bill, into law.

The Democrat-sponsored bill would allow family, household members or law enforcement to petition a court to have guns seized from an owner if they believe he or she poses a threat.

A subsequent court hearing could extend a gun seizure up to 364 days.

Governor Polis said today, "Today we may be saving the life of your nephew or niece or your grandchild."

It was an emotional victory for Representative Tom Sullivan, who was a main sponsor of the bill and who lost his son in the tragic Aurora movie theater shooting.

"I struggle with the price that we paid to get where we are today," he said.
 
The bill places the burden of proof on the gun owner to prove that he or she no longer poses a risk in order to get the firearms back.
  
Minority Republican lawmakers fought furiously against the bill.

Senator Owen Hill said, "It'd bad policy for us up here at the state level to push something on when so many counties have said this doesn't work."

He is one of the many lawmakers coming behind the 20+ counties and their Sheriff's who have resolutions in their respective areas showing their opposition.

"When you've got a Sheriff, somebody who's raised their hand and put their hand on the bible, and sworn to the constitution saying they won't uphold a law, you know there's a significant concern and deep conviction that this is a bad way to approach the problem," says Senator Paul Lundeen.

Even though the bill is now law, it still faces an uphill battle. Sheriff's across Colorado have threatened not to enforce the bill, and others like El Paso County Sheriff, Bill Elder, are planning to challenge it in court.

Today, Sheriff Elder released a statement saying, "There is a mental health crisis in this country, in this state and our communities.  The Red Flag Bill does nothing to address the underlying mental health of an individual, it only violates in my opinion, the right of a citizen to possess firearms. As I previously stated, I am exploring all available legal options and am committed to vigorously challenge the constitutionality of this law.

The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2020, unless a court order stops it.
 


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