Democrats in the Colorado House are one step closer to passing a “red flag” gun law which will allow the courts to confiscate a person’s guns if deemed a threat to themselves or others.
The bill advanced with a 7-4 vote in the House Judiciary Committee, an outcome expected in the Democrat-controlled House, and will now advance to the chamber’s Appropriations Committee, CBS 4 News reported.
A similar bill was presented and defeated last year by the Republican-controlled House who voted that it violated a person’s Second Amendment rights.
The recent hearing fell on what would have been Douglas County Deputy Zachary Parish’s 31st birthday. Parish was fatally shot by a man who had mental issues and a gun on New Year’s Eve 2017, The Coloradoan reported.
The bill was named after Parish.
The legislation will allow police or family members to petition the courts to have an individual’s guns removed if they believe that person could be a threat.
If approved by the judge, the guns could be seized for up to 364 days.
Once the guns are seized, the gun owner will have to petition the courts and prove that they are not a threat in order to get their guns back.
House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, a co-sponsor said, “This is the first step to move forward on a solution that is geared at trying to help people in crisis and confront the epidemic of gun violence that’s had a significant impact on the state of Colorado.”
First-term Rep. Tom Sullivan lost his son in the 2012 Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting on his 27th birthday.
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) February 22, 2019
Sullivan said, “Watching your child’s body drop into the ground is as bad as it gets. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that none of you have to do that.”
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle — whose son was shot, but not killed in the incident that killed Parish — stands strong behind the bill.
Pelle said, “This is an issue that comes up constantly. We know who these folks are. We absolutely know when and how the time is right to use the courts to help us relieve the situation and make our communities — and our officers — safer.”
Second Amendment expert Dave Kopel said, “How do you prove you’re non-dangerous in this? That’s a high standard. There would have to be some burden of proof, but this is set at the highest level of burden of proof in civil cases and proving a negative can often be very difficult.”
Since the Feb. 2017 Parkland, Fla. school massacre, 13 states have passed “red flag” laws.