Colorado’s Senate passed the so-called ‘red flag bill’ that allows law enforcement to seize people’s guns if a court rules them at risk to themselves or others.
Thursday’s 18-17 vote, that saw no Republican support, moved the bill one step closer to Governor Jared Polis’ signature – who has already pledged to sign it into law if it reaches his desk.
The legislation, called House Bill 1177, has been slammed by the state’s sheriffs who have been supporting multiple counties’ efforts to become a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
“If you pass an unconstitutional law, our oaths as commissioners or myself as the sheriff — we’re going to follow our constitutional oath first,” said Sheriff Steve Reams.
Advocates for the bill insist it’s intended to combat mental health issues as over half of Colorado’s suicides involve a firearm, a cause sheriffs are eager to address but not at the expense of everyone’s rights.
“It’s time we quit trying to put lipstick on a pig and start funding our mental health facilities, instead of trying to take the rights from our people,” said another sheriff.
The state’s attorney general, Democrat Phil Weiser, has called officials to leave office if they can’t “follow the law.”
“If a sheriff cannot follow the law, the sheriff cannot do his or her job,” Weiser said. “The right thing to do for a sheriff who says, ‘I can’t follow the law’ is to resign.”
Interestingly, after being pressed by the media, Governor Polis has distanced himself from Weiser’s remarks by saying police can exercise their discretion when choosing to honor the new law.
“Every law enforcement agency has limited resources, and they do have to prioritize what they choose to enforce or not enforce,” said Polis.
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