A controversial bill that would allow judges to impose extreme risk protection orders against gun owners deemed a threat to themselves or others is on its way to the governor.
With no debate, the Colorado House approved HB1177 Monday, and sent the so-called red flag bill to its final stop, Gov. Jared Polis, who has indicated he will sign it.
The measure would allow law enforcement or a family member of a gun owner to petition a court for an emergency protection order if they can show the person to be temporarily mentally ill and a threat as a result.
While some groups are hoping to meet with the governor to ask him to veto the bill, others are planning to take the matter to court challenging its constitutionality.
Republican lawmakers, none of whom voted for the bill, have said it not only violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but also the right against unreasonable search and seizures under the Fourth Amendment and the due process rights under the Fifth and 14th amendments.
Meanwhile, several Republican county sheriffs are vowing to continue fighting the measure. Some are saying they won't implement an extreme risk court order should one come their way.
Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor posted on his Facebook page Monday that he was calling on the County Sheriffs of Colorado to set up a meeting with Polis before he signs it so they can express their concerns directly.
"This bill is overreaching without any checks and balances that would keep it from being abused by both citizens and potentially law enforcement," Taylor wrote in a letter to Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Reps. Matt Soper, R-Delta, and Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, all of whom represent all or parts of Delta County. "Mental health is the underlying factor, and we as a society need to find a way to get people who suffer from chronic mental health disorders the help they need. This bill does nothing to address that issue."
Actually, any order issued by a judge is also required to include an order for the gun owner to receive mental health treatment and evaluation.
It also allows a judge to order an involuntary commitment of the person if conditions warrant.
Under the bill, the person asking for a protection order must show with clear and convincing evidence that the person in question poses an extreme risk to themselves or others.
But part of Republicans' consternation with the bill, which is mirrored by the National Rifle Association, are concerns that it violates due process rights and flips on its head the basic legal standard of innocent before proven guilty.
It does both, they say, because the initial order can be done without the gun owner's knowledge, and then requires the gun owner to prove they are competent enough to posses firearms.
The bill has caused several counties to declare themselves "Second Amendment sanctuaries," meaning they won't enforce it should it become law.
Several other counties, Delta and Mesa included, have merely passed resolutions denouncing the bill, but stopping short of saying it won't be enforced.
While Polis has said he believes sheriffs will do their duty and enforce any lawful court order, Attorney General Phil Weiser has called on sheriffs who don't to resign their positions.
The governor has 10 days to sign or veto the bill. If he does neither, it would become law without his signature.