Colorado Red Flag Law: Guilty Until Proven Innocent
The Colorado red flag law originally proposed in 2018 passed its first hearing in the legislature on February 21. Democrats now have a “super majority” in both houses. Previously the bill failed. Democrats call it a “common sense bill.” Gun owners call it a violation of due process.
The bill now moves to the House Appropriations Committee. It is expected to advance.
The Colorado House Judiciary Committee passed the bill along party lines, 7-4 late on Thursday. They moved it forward after 10 hours of public testimony both for and against, according to kdvr. The bill is supported by anti-gun groups, as well as some law enforcement who have had personal tragedies in their lives. Gun rights groups are opposed.
Kdvr also noted,
The bill also would leave it up to the person whose guns were seized to prove at any point that he or she no longer poses a risk. That person would be entitled to legal counsel.
The Colorado version of the red flag law is not much different from other states that have passed one. Except that it specifies that the person who had their guns taken away must PROVE that they are no longer a risk. Our judicial system is based upon “innocent until proven guilty.” How do you prove that you are no longer a risk? That’s just one of the issues that has many who oppose the law concerned.
The Coloradoan reported,
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a survivor of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, says the bill would discourage citizens from seeking help because of the “stigma” associated with mental illness.
“No one should feel they have to choose between their guns and getting the help they need,” Neville said in a statement.
“I’m saddened that our beautiful state is moving away from due process,” said John Anderson, a retired commander of the Castle Rock Police Department and 20-year veteran of SWAT teams. The bill, he said, presumes that “the accused is guilty until proven innocent” and will create dangerous situations when officers try to confiscate firearms.
“You have now singled out one class of citizens in Colorado, and that is gun owners. And you will be challenged in court,” said Dudley Brown, executive director of the advocacy group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
Democrats re-introduced the red flag law after midterms.