HB 19-1177 – Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) or “Red Flag”
Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), informally known as red flag laws, are gaining traction in legislatures nationwide. In Colorado, this red flag law is disguised as a “common-sense” proposal to disarm people who allegedly present a danger to themselves or others around them.
Timeline of events:
March 4, 2019: HB 19-1177 passed the Colorado House of Representatives by a straight party line 38-25 vote.
March 28, 2019: HB 19-1177 passed the Colorado Senate by an 18-17 vote.
April 12, 2019: Governor Jared Polis signed HB 19-1177 into law.
In 2018, a very similar bill was defeated in the State Senate, but that was before Democrats doing the bidding of Governor Jared Polis took control of the Senate.
This scary piece of legislation would allow a court order to be sought against you to have your guns seized if someone even “believed” you could be a threat.
Law enforcement all across Colorado have come out in public opposition to the bill, including the Denver and Aurora police unions, in addition to numerous sheriffs.
Here are some potential threats of the Red Flag Gun Laws:
Due process rights are put on the chopping block.
Anti-gun family members, friends, or acquaintances can make false accusations to trigger the confiscation of law-abiding gun owners’ guns. They can take these accusations to a court of law, even if the individual in question was not charged or convicted of a crime. In turn, due process rights are turned upside down, as gun owners are presumed to be guilty and must then prove their innocence.
Once your guns are seized, it is up to you to prove you do not pose any type of risk in order to get them back.
Indefinite time frames for gun confiscation.
The duration of ERPOs is unclear — and you could end up waiting weeks, months, or even a year. Gun owners would then be forced to go to court multiple times just to win their Constitutional rights back, meanwhile being defenseless in their own homes.
Any lawmakers under the impression that compromising on red flag laws will curtail further gun control attempts, are in for a rude awakening.
Here are a few additional bullet points to help you better understand just how horrendous this bill could be:
- Virtually anyone can request an ERPO without ever showing their face or providing personal information. The definition of “family or household member” is so broad it includes ex-lovers who you have never even lived with or someone claiming you once had an affair. It even includes old roommates.
- There appears to be no accountability for false accusers. In fact, the filing fee is $0. Just for comparison, requesting a Temporary Restraining Order in Colorado costs you $97.
- The initial report and hearing can happen over the phone, all while the accused is completely oblivious proceedings are taking place which will result in having his or her firearms confiscated.
- The first time the accused learns someone has reported them will be when local law enforcement shows up at their door with an ORDER to raid their home – even when the accused has not committed any crime.
- The accused must wait 14 days before they can even begin to defend themselves in this accusation and confiscation.
- The guns will be confiscated for 364 days, during which time the accused will only have one opportunity to ask the courts to lift the order.
- This law is so ripe for abuse, it can easily be used by a stalker or abuser to have their victim disarmed – legally.
- The ERPO will go on a person’s permanent record even if it is dismissed, meaning it will show up on background checks, etc for life.
- This bill is being touted as a “suicide prevention” bill and one that only effects “dangerous individuals”, when in fact, the definitions are so broad that anyone who’s ever lost their temper at some point in life could be considered “dangerous”.