Two Colorado Counties Declared Gun Rights Sanctuaries
Russ Chastain 02.27.19
As so-called “red flag” laws — laws which allow government forces to take guns away from citizens without even charging them with a crime — are being thrust upon Americans in record numbers, some places are saying, “Enough.” Specifically, two counties in Colorado have reportedly “voted to declare themselves Second Amendment Sanctuary counties” if the Colorado state government enacts such a law.
Early Tuesday February 26th, two separate Colorado counties voted to declare themselves Second Amendment Sanctuary counties. Both Fremont and Montezuma counties held their regular Board of County Commissioners meetings and either passed or started the process to pass resolutions stating if Colorado’s HB19-1177: Emergency Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) is passed into law, they will not enforce it.
HB19-1177, which is Colorado’s proposed Red Flag gun control legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday after nearly ten hours of testimony for and against. Dozens of those wishing to testify in opposition to the bill had already left when they were called up to testify at 9 and 10 o’clock at night. Many of those who were not able to speak had been there since noon.
In Fremont County, Chairman Dwayne McFall led the initiative in direct response to HB19-1177, which he says violates multiple Constitutional amendments.
In Montezuma County, more than 100 people attended and many shared their comments about the Red Flag legislation being considered. The Board of County Commissioners were said to be transparent and shared a copy of the resolution with those in attendance indicating the county’s position against a Red Flag ERPO law, calling it a dangerous infringement on the Second Amendment and civil liberties. Montezuma County Sheriff, Steve Nowlin, was also in attendance and supported the resolution.
These two counties are not alone in being concerned about the proposed law, which is being called one of the worst red flag laws ever considered in the USA.
Many other sheriffs in Colorado — including El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell, and Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper — say they don’t approve of the bill as written because they believe it infringes on citizens’ rights to due process. Even Democrat Sheriff out of Pueblo County, Kirk Taylor, says he doesn’t believe there are adequate due process protections for gun owners in this year’s version of the bill.
The bill is being pushed as a suicide prevention measure in order to gain public support, but that’s misdirection. As the author of the article observes, “…the fear of having [their] firearms confiscated will make [potentially suicidal] people terrified to ask for help when they need it.”
Here’s a brief look at some effects of the proposed “Emergency Risk Protection Order” (ERPO):
• Almost anyone can request an ERPO without even showing their face or providing their address. The definition of “family or household member” is so broad it includes ex-lovers who you have never even lived with! Or someone *claiming* you once had an affair. And even old roommates.
• The initial report and hearing can be done over the phone, all while the accused is completely oblivious proceedings are taking place to have his or her firearms confiscated.
• The first time the accused learns someone has reported them will be when local law enforcement shows up at their door with an order AND a search warrant prepared to raid your home – while the accused never even committed a crime.
• 14 days later is the first time the accused will have a chance to defend themselves against this non-crime.
• The guns will be confiscated for 364 days, during which time the accused only has one opportunity to ask the courts to lift the order.
• There is zero accountability for false accusers. In fact, the filing fee is $0! For comparison, requesting a Temporary Restraining Order in Colorado is $97.
• This bill is being touted as a “suicide prevention” bill, when in fact, the fear of having your firearms confiscated will make people terrified to ask for help when they need it.
• It is so rife for abuse, it can easily be used by someone’s stalker or abuser to have their victim disarmed – legally.
• The ERPO will go on a person’s permanent record EVEN if it is dismissed, meaning it will show up on background checks, etc.
This is a terrible time for liberty in the USA, but it’s good to know there are still some strongholds against such tyranny. Here’s hoping the bill dies — and if it doesn’t, that every county and municipality in the state will politely but staunchly refuse to enforce it.