(April 30) – House Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett and Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist introduced a bill today to help save lives and protect first responders.
“This bill can save lives by creating a way for family members and law enforcement to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies,” said Rep. Garnett, D-Denver. “When a person is in crisis, loved ones and law enforcement are often the first to see signs that they pose a threat. Red flag laws allow them to seek help from a court to remove guns from dangerous situations.”
HB18-1436, the bill introduced today, would allow family members or law enforcement to go before a judge to obtain an “extreme risk protection order” — a ruling that an individual poses an imminent danger of injuring himself or others with a firearm and granting permission to law enforcement to temporarily impound the firearms of such a person. Individuals would have ample opportunity to challenge an extreme risk protection order in court.
Measures such as this are generically known as “red flag” laws. Eight states have such laws on the books and at least 28 other states are considering them.
The bill is named for Zackari Parrish III, a Douglas County deputy sheriff who was killed last December by a deranged gunman. Law enforcement officials, including Deputy Parrish’s sheriff, Tony Spurlock, spoke in favor of the bill at a press conference today.
Deputy Parrish’s parents, Zack and Cris, issued a statement supporting the bill.
“To allow an individual who is mentally unstable to gain access to a firearm is like handing a gun to a child. On December 31, 2017, our lives were changed forever when our 29-year-old son, Deputy Zack S. Parrish, III, upon responding to a domestic disturbance call, was senselessly and fatally shot numerous times by a man with a history of mental and emotional illness.
“Other officers who were present were also shot and wounded, one of whom almost succumbed to his wounds as well. These officer’s lives and those of their families’ lives have been greatly affected, too.
“While recognizing that the right to own and possess a gun in the United States is a protected amendment right, which we support, we also realize it is a right that comes with great responsibility. Our rights should not put others at risk. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to support the Zack S. Parrish III law, a measure which will limit the accessibility that a mentally and/or emotionally ill person would have to obtain such weaponry. This is not about taking gun rights away from anyone; it is about protecting our first responders, families, and the community at large, thus reducing these tragedies in the future.”
HB18-1436 will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.