DENVER (CBS4) — Colorado Democrats see a big opportunity to pass legislation allowing the seizure of guns from people deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others. This year’s “red flag” bill gets its first hearing Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee. Senate Republicans defeated similar legislation last year, insisting it infringed on citizens’ Second Amendment rights. This year, Democrats are in control and hope to pass an even tougher bill.
HB19-1177 states: “The petitioner must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that a person poses a significant risk to self or others by having a firearm in his or her custody or control or by possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.”
If a temporary extreme risk protection order is approved, a subsequent court hearing would be held within 14 days to determine whether the seizure is warranted and whether it should be extended — up to 364 days.
Bill sponsors include House Majority Leader Alec Garnett and first-term Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son, Alex, was killed in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.
District Attorney George Brauchler supported the bill last year, but he says it goes too far this time.
“The term extreme is never even defined here. ‘Significant risk’ isn’t defined here at all,” Brauchler said.
“The issue here is a state is depriving someone of their constitutional right. The state should be on the hook for continuing to prove that that person should have their rights infringed upon. There’s no other aspect of American life where we’d say hey, you need to prove that you deserve to have this constitutional right,” said Brauchler.
In other states that have passed the law, including Florida, Connecticut and Maryland, judges have issued an average of 100 extreme risk protection orders a month.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)