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Guns might be seized from individuals with mental health issues

Guns might be seized from individuals with mental health issues

Guns might be seized from individuals with mental health issues
April 11
18:10 2019

SPANISH

THE BILL IS AWAITING GOVERNOR POLIS SIGNATURE

Newsroom/El Comerio de Colorado

The Colorado legislature has passed bill HB19-1177, known as the “Red Flag Bill”. The voting at the House of Representative was expeditious. However, the votes at the Senate were 18-17. Leroy Garcia, a democratic senator, added his vote to that of those who oppose the bill. This new law, if it is enacted, will allow law enforcement or relatives of individuals with mental health to obtain authorization from a judge to remove guns in the possession of said individuals.

This law would allow that, starting on January 1st, 2020, relatives or police officers appear before a judge and indicate there is “clear evidence” that a certain individual represents a risk to themselves and others for the possible use of guns they own. If the judge accepts the petition, then an investigation begins, including two audiences. The outcome of this process might be an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO). This order will allow for guns to be confiscated from the individual who has been determined to be “dangerous.”

The removal of the guns is temporary, and it cannot exceed 354 days unless a new petition is filed. This law was presented in honor of a police officer from Douglas county who died in 2017 after trying to negotiate with a man during a mental health crisis. The law establishes sanctions for those who present “false or malicious orders” for gun removal. In those cases, the affected person has the right to be compensated for attorney and court costs.

Some sheriffs are opposed

The Attorney General for Colorado, Phil Weiser, publicly supported the new law and said, “the right to bear arms granted by the Second Amendment is not absolute.” “I am confident that, when the time comes, all law enforcement officers will comply with this law,” said the attorney. However, half of the 64 counties in Colorado declared their jurisdictions as “sanctuary” where the new law will not be enforced.

Those sheriffs believe the law is unconstitutional for violating the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution that prohibit to “take away life, liberty or property from a person without due process”. Sheriff Steve Reams, from Weld County, stated he rather go to jail than enforce HB19-1177. Sheriffs from Douglas and Boulder counties, Tony Spurlock and Joe Pelle, support this legislation.

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Edición Virtual | #336 | 11 de abril 2019

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