COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Two months after Gov. Jared Polis signed the “Red Flag” gun bill into law, another community is poised to declare itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.” More than half of Colorado’s counties have adopted similar resolutions since April, some refusing to enforce the law that takes effect in January.
But most of those counties are in rural parts of the state that are Republican strongholds. Commerce City is the first city in the Denver metro area to consider Second Amendment sanctuary status.
It is a blue collar community that is purple politically. Democrats hold state House and Senate seats while city council leans Republican. And that’s created a rub.
“I fought for my country, and I think people have the right to protect themselves and the citizen,” said Mayor Pro Tem Rick Teter.
He admits the resolution is a statement not a statute. Still, it’s exploded in debate on social media.
Teter says the city will enforce the law which allows judges to confiscate the guns of people deemed a dangerous to themselves or others. He wants to send a message to lawmakers.
“Let’s back up, let’s address mental health and the funding first and try to get these people the help they need. You can take mental health person and you do a statement where you’re going to rush his house or whatever, you may force that person to take the wrong action.”
Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City says the legislature did address mental health — putting tens of millions of dollars more toward treatment and suicide prevention — but he says gun control is also part of the solution.
“What we heard overwhelmingly in all of these shooting situations, whether they be at schools or out in the public, is people are like ‘get weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.’ That’s what extreme risk protect orders are,” Moreno said. “I don’t think we overstepped at all. I think we are trying to keep our communities safe.”
Fourteen other states have red flag laws. Opponents in Connecticut and Indiana sued, saying the laws were unconstitutional, and lost.
A group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, attended Monday night’s meeting. They issued this statement:
I’m Helen Kamin, Regional Lead for The Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Below is the presentation I’m giving to the city council this evening.
I’m a volunteer and regional lead with Moms. Our organization of 6+ million members around the country believes in common sense gun laws, as well as the 2nd amendment. Recent polls show that 79 percent of Colorado voters support the bill to create a law establishing an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). That is an overwhelming majority. The poll included gun owners. The ERPO law makes a lot of sense. People have lost their lives because Colorado didn’t have an ERPO law, including the victims of the Aurora theater shooting and Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish III, for whom the ERPO law is named. ERPO laws in other states have saved lives and will save lives here. Domestic violence incidents often happen because of temporary anger or rage on the part of the instigator. The Colorado ERPO bill will prevent such incidents.
A number of Colorado jurisdictions have now passed resolutions denouncing this law. As some sheriffs in those jurisdictions have stated, such resolutions cannot and do not override a valid judicial order implementing state law, such as one that could be issued under an ERPO law. Colorado Atty General Weiser stated in an opinion, “Our nation and state depends on the rule of law. All law enforcement officers swear an oath to uphold the rule of law. I am confident that when and if the time comes, all law enforcement officials will follow the rule of law.” Are you all ready for the liability of a shooting by any person who should have had his or her guns taken away because of the possibility of doing harm to himself or herself or to others?
It has been 3 days since the latest mass shooting, this time in Virginia Beach, another tragedy which could have been prevented with an ERPO law. How many people have to die before we all realize that guns in the hands of the wrong people will kill our loved ones?