Colorado Public Radio’s Hayley Sanchez reports from Saturday’s rally at the Colorado state capitol in opposition to the state’s new extreme risk protection order (ERPO) law, which takes effect on January 1–where gun-rights activists have sworn to resist a law supported overwhelmingly by the public, allowing family and law enforcement to petition in court for temporary removal of guns from people who are a significant risk to themselves or others:
The new law allows a family member or law enforcement official to petition a court to temporarily remove guns for up to a year from someone who appears to pose a danger to themself or others.
“We are going to be tracking everything about them,” said Lesley Hollywood, the founder of the group Rally For Our Rights, which hosted the event. “We’ll be tracking which judges are ordering these so come time to elect the judges out, we can do that, too.”
She said the group is going to have resources for attorneys and mental health professionals about the law and will not let her rights be taken away.
“We will not comply with laws that infringe on our right to keep and bear arms,” she said. “It is downright dangerous. It’s unconstitutional.”
It’s a point we’ve made before about “resisting” this law in particular, which is different from other gun control laws in Colorado like the magazine limit which 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger found to be widely disregarded by gun dealers–especially in counties where the local sheriff has suggested they won’t enforce the law. “Resisting” the magazine limit is as simple as obtaining an easily obtainable illegal high capacity magazine. In order to “resist” the ERPO law, it’s necessary for a person who has already been ruled in court to be a significant risk to themselves or others to refuse to comply with an order to surrender their guns.
Needless to say, that’s a much bigger deal.
Surrender of firearms on either a temporary or a permanent basis is nothing new in either federal or Colorado law. It happens routinely when a person is convicted of a qualifying crime. In Colorado, a person subject to a protective order in a domestic violence case can be ordered to surrender their guns until the case is resolved. We don’t know if domestic violence and surrender of guns before conviction came up Saturday, but ERPOs operate on a similar legal principle. Should wife beaters also “not comply?”
As we’ve said many times since the ERPO law was passed and the vocal gun-rights minority vowed to “not comply” with the law, in just a few weeks these will no longer be hypothetical discussions. Other states with similar red flag laws on the books are quickly amassing success stories, dangerous people who by any objective reasoning should not possess weapons being disarmed before they can make good on their desires.
We predict it won’t be long before one side in this debate loses definitively.
We hope not too many people get hurt in the meantime.