(CBS4) — Two years ago Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish was killed in the line of duty, killed by a heavily armed and mentally unstable man. Since his death, Colorado lawmakers have been pushing for change passing the Zackari Parrish Violence Prevention Act, also known as Colorado’s Red Flag law.
“I think the intention is good and we just want to make sure we handle it the right way,” Denver Police Department Division Chief of investigations Joe Montoya said.
The law allows family members or law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily remove guns from the possession of someone deemed an extreme risk to themselves or others. If a judge agrees, law enforcement officers are tasked with the removal of those weapons, leaving agencies across Colorado to figure out the best approach.
“We broke down the laws we got a firm understanding of the interpretation and we did a lot of scenarios, built out a lot of scenarios and went through the what if’s how should we do this,” Montoya said.
Chief Montoya says they have been developing their policy for months and part of their approach is understanding the controversy that surrounds the law.
“I understand why people are concerned about it especially on the gun rights side of things and it’s all in how we handle it. I think there is that general fear that we are going to be going in seizing guns at the drop of a hat and really that’s not what we want to do,” Montoya said.
Montoya believes the Denver Police Department is well prepared for the implementation of the law in 2020 but he says the real training will come with time.
“It’s going to be somewhat on the job training through the year because we really don’t know what this is going to look like,” he said.
Those who oppose the law say it violates a person’s right to bear arms, and some law enforcement officials in Colorado say they will not ask for a red flag order in any circumstance and if given one by a judge they will not enforce it.
In the months since Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law nearly half of Colorado’s sixty-four counties have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, in protest.