By: Taylor D. Rhodes, RMGO Staff
So, you have seen the news, read all of the articles -- you may have even read the bill -- but you are still confused about what Colorado’s new “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation law actually does. Trust me; you aren’t alone.
Since the bill was first introduced to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2018, many questions have emerged on what “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation actually means for you and your family.
Now that the bill has become law, our phone lines have been red hot, and we’ve been educating our members on how it may be worse than they initially thought.
If you haven’t read it at length, I recommend you do so before continuing forward:
From its conception, HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation has been peddled as a vital piece of the puzzle for mental health reform, as it would give law enforcement “the tools they need to keep our communities safe.” After reading the law, you will soon find out this is not true.
In fact, the word “Mental Health” is used merely four times, while the word “Firearm(s)” is used one-hundred and four times. That doesn’t seem like mental health protection to me; it seems like gun control.
It’s true. This isn’t about mental health at all. It is nothing more than a firearm confiscation scheme.
The law details several dangerous things:
To start, nearly anyone can request a “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation Order without the accused knowing. The law states:
“A family or household member of the respondent or a law enforcement officer or agency may request a temporary extreme risk protection order without notice to the respondent by including in the petition for an extreme risk protection order an affidavit.”
This means that an ex-roommate, ex-spouse, step-children, in-laws, or even an anonymous report to the police (i.e., disgruntled neighbors, angry coworkers, etc.) could call in a “Red Flag” on you, for free! That’s right. There is no charge to file this petition, unlike Colorado’s Temporary Restraining Order, which imposes a $97 fee.
“A court or public agency shall not charge a fee for filing or service of process to a petitioner seeking relief pursuant to this article 14.5.”
Not to mention, the petition can be submitted and heard over the phone.
“The court may schedule a hearing by telephone pursuant to local court rule to reasonably accommodate a disability or, in exceptional circumstances, to protect a petitioner from potential harm.”
This is a massive problem. This means the people listed above can call into the local authority’s (without the accused knowing) and convey to them you are a significant risk of causing personal injury to yourself or others -- and have a “Red Flag” Order issued, allowing for your firearms to be confiscated.
After the petition has been successfully filed (unbeknownst to the accused), they will finally learn they have been “Red Flagged” only when the SWAT team arrives at their door, likely with a no-knock raid. Yes, it’s also true, HB19-1177 allows no-knock raids. At this point, law enforcement will enter the home, confiscate the firearm(s), and leave the “dangerous accused person” at home with no mental health treatment.
Once the firearms have been confiscated, the accused will then have 14 days to prepare for their defense. Remember, with this law, the burden of proof lies with the accused, not the petitioner, completely removing due process.
Additionally, all the court needs is a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is commonly known as the lowest burden of proof.
“In accordance with section 13-14.5-105 (1), the court shall schedule a hearing within fourteen days after the issuance of a temporary extreme risk protection order…”
“The court must provide the notice of the hearing not later than one court day after the date of the extreme risk protection order petition…”
“If a court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, based on the evidence presented pursuant to section 13-14.5-105 (3), the respondent poses a significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control a firearm or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue a temporary extreme risk protection order.”
If the court then finds the accused “a significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others” the court shall order the accused to surrender all firearms for 364 calendar days by selling or transferring the firearms to a registered FFL, storing the firearms with a law enforcement agency, or if the accused is in possession of a(n) antique firearm(s) they may be able to transfer the antique(s) to a relative who does not live with the respondent.
During this time, the accused will only have one chance to appeal this order.
“Upon hearing the matter, if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence, based on the evidence presented pursuant to subsection (3) of this section, that the respondent poses a significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others by having in his or her custody or control a firearm or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue an extreme risk protection order for a period of three hundred sixty-four days.”
“The respondent may submit one written request for a hearing to terminate an extreme risk protection order issued pursuant to this article 14.5 for the period that the order is in effect. Upon receipt of the request for a hearing to terminate an extreme risk protection order, the court shall set a date for a hearing. Notice of the request and date of hearing must be served on the petitioner in accordance with the Colorado rules of civil procedure or Colorado rules of county court civil procedure. The court shall set the hearing fourteen days after the filing of the request for a hearing to terminate an extreme risk protection order. The court shall terminate the extreme risk protection order if the respondent establishes by clear and convincing evidence that he or she no longer poses a significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others by having in his or her custody or control a firearm or by purchasing, possessing, or page 13-House Bill 19-1177 receiving a firearm. The court may consider any relevant evidence, including evidence of the considerations listed in section 13-14.5-105 (3).”
RMGO considers “Red Flag” laws unconstitutional, and in violation of the protections found in the U.S. Constitution, including:
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is working tirelessly to defeat this horrible law. We have against the State of Colorado in an attempt to repeal this incredibly unconstitutional law.