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Senate committee passes Red Flag bill on party-line vote

Red flag bill goes before first senate hearing

DENVER, Colo. - The Red Flag Bill was back before lawmakers for its first Senate hearing Friday and narrowly passed by a party-line vote. 

Starting Friday morning, the Colorado Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee started listening to testimony from hundreds of people for and against HB19-1177.

At about 7:30 p.m., the committee passed the bill by a vote of 3-2.

The bill calls for the issuance of an Extreme Risk Protection Order. It would allow law enforcement to seize firearms from someone who is accused of being mentally unstable.

The hearing comes after nearly 20 counties across Colorado have stood up to the bill, some threatening legal action if it passes.

Among people taking the stand was Douglas County attorney Robert Wareham. He says he's against the bill because "nobody is alleging a crime here. They're alleging that somebody may behave in a certain way that they shouldn't have a firearm -- not by a mental health profession, not by a behavioral professional."

Arguing against him is Colorado's former U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

He says, "The second amendment is not without limit in that there's some in which it's possible for someone or the government to regulate firearms. One of them is with people who may be mentally ill or having a mental breakdown."

Making a late appearance to the hearing was newly elected Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

He supports the bill saying, "As Attorney General, I will work hard to implement and evaluate the use of an extreme risk protection order, or ERPO as it's being called, to help us save lives."

So far, the bill has made it this far on party lines. Democrats hold the majority in this committee and the General Assembly. 


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