House OKs Garnett’s Bill to Temporarily Impound Firearms of Dangerous People
(May 4) – The House of Representatives voted today to add Colorado to the list of states that have taken action to prevent gun violence by people facing mental health crises.
HB18-1436, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, would allow family members or law enforcement officers to ask a judge to issue an “extreme risk protection order” to temporarily remove weapons from people found to pose a significant risk to themselves or others.
If the order is challenged, the bill compels the authorities to appear in court at regular intervals to show why the extreme risk protection order should continue.
Under the bill, Colorado would become the ninth state to adopt a “red flag” law, a generic term for laws concerning people whose behavior raises red flag warnings that they are an imminent danger to themselves or others. At least 28 other states are considering red flag laws.
Colorado’s bill is named after Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Zack Parrish III, who was killed in the line of duty last New Year’s Eve by an individual in the middle of a mental health crisis. If HB18-1436 had been in effect, the subject could have been unarmed when deputies moved to take him into custody on a 72-hour “mental health hold.”
“Law enforcement agencies across the state have asked for this tool to be able to intervene before a tragedy occurs,” Rep. Garnett said. “This critical legislation will save the lives of law enforcement officers and members of the community, and it will help prevent suicides. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill.”
Two Republicans joined thirty-five Democrats in support of a reasonable, constitutional effort to reduce gun violence in which mental illness is a prominent factor.
The House passed HB18-1436 on a 37-23 vote.