Denver7’s Oscar Contreras reports on the fully predictable yet unfortunate anticipated fate of House Bill 18-1436, the “red flag” bill to allow for the temporary removal of firearms from the possession of persons in the midst of a mental health crisis:
A bill that would allow judges to seize guns and ammunition away from people deemed to be in midst of a mental health crisis passed the Democratic-controlled House Friday night with very little Republican support.
House Bill 1436, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, passed the House by a 37-23 vote. Among those voting “aye” were two Republicans.
The so-called “red flag” bill still has to go through the Republican-led Senate, where chances of it passing appear dim.
The bill would allow the temporary order from the judge to stay in place for seven days, during which the person can petition to have their weapons returned.
The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul quotes GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham pretty much broadcasting how this is going to end:
“I don’t think it’s any secret where the three members stand on that particular subject when it comes to the potential for gun confiscation without the proper due process,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City. He was referencing the three senators who make up the GOP majority on the Senate’s State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, where the “red flag” bill will be heard.
“So, I don’t think it should be any surprise what happens to that bill once it goes through committee,” Grantham added.
It’s evident from the vote in the House, in which GOP sponsor Rep. Cole Wist was joined only by Rep. Dan Thurlow in voting for the bill, that the initial bipartisan support for the legislation when it was introduced was successfully beaten back by the hard-right gun lobby led by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. The support for the bill expressed by AG candidate George Brauchler and Rep. Mike Coffman was not enough to sway Republicans in the legislature–certainly not with RMGO acrimoniously targeting Wist and openly threatening any other Republican who got on board.
Assuming there is no miraculous change of heart, this bill will die at the hands of the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate, either in its first committee or to “die on the calendar” without a hearing as the session comes to a close Wednesday. Either way, given the overwhelming public support for this legislation this is sure to be a potent election issue in the fall. This is a fight pitting the most extreme supporters of gun rights against everyone else–including mainstream Republicans and independent voters who could go either way. Even though Republican Senators may not have to personally vote to kill the bill, voters are smart enough to understand that this is happening because Republicans control the Colorado Senate.
A high price to pay just to keep Dudley Brown happy.