Colorado Public Radio reported Friday and we wanted to be sure it got a mention:
Gov. Jared Polis is asking the Denver District Court to dismiss a Republican lawsuit over the passage of a so-called “red flag” gun law last legislative session. The Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a motion Thursday.
Polis signed the measure into law April 12. The gun rights group, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and three Republican lawmakers sued Polis a few weeks later, arguing that Democrats who control the House did not fulfill a Republican request to read the bill out loud in a full and intelligible way.
The Attorney General’s office says those lawmakers should have raised concerns closer to when the original bill reading requests were made in March.
“But rather than complain then to the legislature, they kept quiet until the session ended, not allowing the legislature an opportunity to cure the alleged defect, and now ask this Court to intervene in a hotly contested political issue.”
It’s important to understand the nature of the legal challenge filed by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, Rep. “Pistol Packin'” Lori Saine, and Rep. Dave Williams, which is not a challenge to the actual extreme risk protection order (ERPO) itself but rather the legislative procedure in passing the bill. Readers of course remember the battle over reading bills at length in this year’s legislative session, which Republicans temporarily won (the case is still pending) when a judge ordered Democrats to have them read intelligibly. This suit seeks to invalidate a bill passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor, on the basis that at some point along the way a superfluous request that the bill be read at length wasn’t honored.
Attorney General Phil Weiser’s response is that Republicans essentially sandbagged this complaint about the bill not being read at length so as to provide a pretext to challenge the bill after the end of the legislative session. That puts the court in a position of having to settle a wholly political question, which courts prefer not to do.
But most importantly, this is not a challenge to the law on its merits. For all the hue and cry about the ERPO law’s alleged unconstitutionality, similar “red flag” laws already exist in a dozen other states, and the law functions similarly to laws that already require persons subject to restraining orders to temporarily surrender their firearms. The reason Colorado House Republicans and their allies at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) chose this process angle against the law as the basis of their lawsuit is simple: they know a direct challenge to the law’s constitutionality will fail.
Once you understand that, this whole undertaking looks very different.