NEWS: Colorado Gun Control Bill Could Lead to Gun Seizure

A Colorado gun control bill that would allow the seizure of firearms from “high risk” individuals was heard Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee, after being reintroduced in the statehouse last week.

The bill, co-sponsored by House majority leader Alec Garnett, describes an extreme risk protection order which allows family, household member, or an officer to petition a judge to lawfully take away the weapons in possession by any arms-bearing individual.  Supporters, including several gun control groups, say it will help remove the threat of gun violence from people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Related News: New Mexico County Declares Itself “2nd Amendment Sanctuary State”

Extreme Risk Protection Order

With an extreme risk protection order, a judge will hold a hearing with the individual petitioning for intervention, excluding the person of concern. A temporary seizure order lasts 14 days, during which the gun owner and family member or roommate will make their individual cases to the judge. The bill demands that a lawyer will be provided to the gun owner free of charge and the judge can request drug and alcohol as well as mental health evaluations.

If they decide to proceed with the order, the judge then determines a period of arms seizure that can be as long as 364 days. Throughout this period, the individual may appeal without restriction for the return of their arms.

A similar extreme risk protection bill was passed in Florida after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

The last gun legislation to pass in Colorado was in 2013, when Democrats enforced universal background checks and outlawed high-capacity magazines. For six years, no changes have been made.

Colorado Republican voters were polled in the first days of February, Magellan Strategies found that 60 percent support this law, while 33 percent oppose it.

This bill does not currently have any Republican sponsors, although two GOP representatives voted in favor of the earlier version presented last year. 

Colorado House Minority leader Patrick Neville was not among them.

“This is an even more draconian versatile of legislation than what we saw last year,” Neville said in a statement, according to the Denver Post. “In this version of the bill, innocent until proven guilty no longer exists.”

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