Denver7’s Russell Haythorn reports on the debate over gun legislation at the Colorado Capitol this year, which primarily centers on a bill allowing a court to temporarily order the removal of firearms from persons in a mental health crisis–legislation which passed last year in the House with bipartisan support only to die in the then-GOP held Senate, but is greased to pass this year:
With the balance of power now squarely in the hands of Democrats at the Colorado statehouse, there’s a new push for stronger gun control.
The so-called “red flag” bill would allow judge’s in Colorado to seize firearms from gun owners who are deemed mentally unstable.
Gun-rights advocates call that measure a shameless ploy.
“Make no mistake about it, this bill is designed to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens,” said Dudley Brown, spokesman for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
A poll released last May by Keating Research shows that in Colorado, 81% of the public supports a “red flag” law of the kind that died last year at the hands of the GOP-controlled Colorado Senate. It’s a similar situation to the gun safety laws that were passed in 2013, which similarly enjoyed majority public support even as they were savaged by the extremely vocal gun lobby. “Red flag” bills have passed in a total of 13 states, including states with Republican governors and legislatures like Indiana and Florida.
On any other issue, it would be a considerable stretch to call legislation with 81% public support an example of “legislative overreach,” but as Haythorn reports, it was gun legislation that drove the 2013 recalls against state senate Democrats–recalls that have served as a catch-all boogeyman invoked by Republicans against Democrats ever since.
Outside the angry bubble of the gun lobby, however, the gun issue has politically evolved since 2013. Continuing mass shooting tragedies with record-setting body counts like the October 2017 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip have shifted public opinion, and made the no-compromise stonewall from Republicans under the influence of the gun lobby politically unsustainable. That’s one reason why in 2018, you saw a number of high-profile Colorado Republicans like attorney general candidate George Brauchler and Rep. Cole Wist come out in support of a red flag bill. RMGO responded by targeting both Brauchler and Wist with negative messages to the Republican base in 2018–and they both lost, satisfying Dudley Brown but only making passage of this bill more likely.
“Gun owners across this state are worried that the legislature is going to do again – what it did in 2013,” Brown said. “And that is take big leaps to turn us into California.”
Colorado’s 2013 legislature banned high capacity magazines and private gun sales.
The move backfired on some Democrats. Some lawmakers were recalled, and the party lost control of the state legislature in 2014.
With all of this in mind, to accuse Democrats of “overreach” for passing a red flag law supported by over 80% of the public, just like in 2013 when Democrats passed a universal background check law supported by a similar overwhelming majority, is spin to the point of absurdity. That this is not immediately apparent in every relevant local news story reflects the way the fringe of the gun debate–in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners–has dictated the terms of this debate for years.
At some point, maybe the local press will realize the guy on the 19% side of the equation doesn’t deserve “equal time.”
Too be fair, while it is doing something and is not going to result in mass round ups of gun owners to be sent to UN black reeducation camps, I have doubts as to if Red Flag bills will actually result in fewer gun deaths. Hopefully I will be wrong and the police will have the resources and the ability to actually prevent some shootings, but I think there are a lot more red herrings than actual red flags.
Tell that to all of the women who die every year at the hands of their boyfriends/partners/ husbands.
From the latest (2016) data from the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Report, compiled on the website of the Violence Policy Center:
"Red flag" law enforcement, triggered by domestic violence police reports, restraining orders, or credible accounts by the victim or relatives, could have saved many of those 292 women.
Now, women do shoot men, and there are same-sex murders as well. They are much rarer. The big picture shows a clear pattern of male on female homicide, with the weapon of choice being a handgun.
My life was threatened by a well-armed person from a prior relationship. I know what I'm talking about.
Are the women who get shot by partners typically able/willing/safe to report their partner? What I am saying is that there is likely to be a problem of the most dangerous gun owners not being reported precisely because they are more dangerous and the people who know are afraid to report them.
I don't know if the FBI has drilled that far down into the data. I haven't seen any correlation of violent incidents / abuse with reporting.
Anecdotally, speaking for myself and for women I've known who were victims of domestic violence, it takes fear for one's own or especially, one's children's lives before one is desperate enough to report an abuser to the police.
In my case, family members and friends took the abuser's guns away and kept them until the situation was deemed safer. There was no "red flag" law, and Evie Hudak's law was not yet in force.
In the past, police have tended to minimize domestic violence as "Lover's spats" or threaten that both parties could lose their kids if they don't "patch things up". And of course, police do tend to have their own issues with spousal abuse. Since living in a rural area, I've found that people don't want to go against their neighbors and distant relatives and so tend to not report dangerous situations, because "everyone will know".
To answer your question, no, women tend to not report until they are in fear for their lives or their kids' lives – often too late. Which is exactly why a "red flag" law that is timely, efficient and easily understood by anyone is needed.
[pedant]Perhaps Russell Haythorn should take time to learn the difference between plural and singular possessive.[/pedant]
And when is Dudley Brown going to get a job instead of living off handouts?
lol j/k The answer is obviously "never."
More grammar enforcement:
I don't think the judges will be the ones "to seize firearms from gun owners" — I expect they will authorize police and other sorts of sworn law enforcement officers to act.
You are splitting hairs. In the eyes of the shallow RWNJs, judges, police, FBI, DEA, OSHA, whatever (except, of course, the constitutional sheriffs) are all part of the same Deep State.
That is a good point. I do, however, applaud the grammar enforcement.
The sheriff of Montgomery County, Maryland is quoted in this story saying the orders are saving lives, and the story says the orders were used four times regarding threats of school shootings. The story's worth a quick reading.
A very interesting read, thanks.
Though the guns everywhere crowd won't be pacified by it I was struck by, "Just under half of those individuals were ordered to turn over their guns and barred from possessing or buying a gun for a year."
So contrary to their rhetoric the courts are not just acting as a rubber stamp for "gun grabbers".
Dudley's photo reminds me of this one
Correction: The Universal Background Check law enacted in 2013 does NOT ban private sales. Rather, it requires that those conducting a private sale seek out a federally licensed gun dealer to conduct a background check.
Speaking of BG checks, did I miss where you mentioned the mug shot of Dudley Brown….as I remember it was for a cocaine arrest. Might be worth repeating that story.