U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- A so-called “Red Flag” law has passed the Colorado Democratic-controlled House and is now heading to the state Senate.
“Red flag” gun laws or “Extreme Protection” orders let police confiscate guns without due process for up to six months. The courts hold a secret hearing in which the gun owner is not present to defend themselves to decide whether police can take their firearms away. The claim that the person shouldn’t own a gun could come from a family member or even a neighbor. Only one person is needed to testify for an order to be granted.
Red flag gun laws are a hot-button topic around the country. Proponents claim they are a way of preventing someone who shouldn’t have a gun from having a gun. They claim the laws are only intended to take firearms away from those that are a danger to themselves or others.
Opponents argue that these laws are unconstitutional and violate not only the gun owner’s Second Amendment rights but so their Fourth Amendment rights. They point out how these laws can be abused by an anti-gun family member or neighbor.
“Sometime after your constitutional rights are suspended without due process, you will theoretically have the ‘right’ to spend $10,000 to try to convince a court it made a mistake,” said Gun Owners of America Legislative Counsel Michael Hammond. “This is a fool’s errand.”
The bill, known as House Bill 1436, passed the Colorado House on Friday on a mostly party line. Only two Republicans voted for the bill. These Republicans were Assistant House Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, who is a prime sponsor of the proposed law, and Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction.
The bill will make its way to the Republican Controlled Senate sometime early this week. The Colorado legislative session is due to end on Wednesday. Republicans in the Senate have vowed to fight against the bill that in their view violates due process.
“I don’t think it’s any secret where the three members stand on that particular subject when it comes to the potential for gun confiscation without the proper due process,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham to the Denver Post Referencing Senate’s State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee which is the next stop for the bill. “So, I don’t think it should be any surprise what happens to that bill once it goes through committee.”
Gun rights groups have come out against these “red flag” laws. The issue is that the courts have a habit of approving such orders without much consideration. Over 99% of surveillance warrants are approved, and the court system also approves over 95% of all search warrants. Activist are concerned that these proceedings will be just a rubber stamp.
“In an exposé of Gun Confiscation Orders in Seattle, only one request was ever denied,” according to Hammond. “And in Massachusetts, a liberal state representative, Barbara Gray, said of much-less-intrusive protective orders: ‘I think judges grant the restraining orders without asking too many questions.'”
Veterans groups are also concerned that these laws can be used to strip combat vets with PTSD of their rights to guns. In fact, in Colorado Democrats are using the case of 37-year-old Matthew Riehl as an example of why they need such laws.
Matthew Riehl was suffering from PTSD and bipolar disorder when police showed up at his door. After a gunfight, which killed Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish and injured four other Deputies, Riehl turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
For every one Matthew Riehl, there are thousands of other people that suffer from PTSD and are not a danger to themselves or others. Since the target of the “red flag” laws does not know about the hearing and is not permitted to defend themselves, a diagnosis of PTSD will be enough to confiscate the vet’s guns.
Although this bill is doomed to fail in Colorado, more and more of these “red flag” laws are passing nationwide.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.