“In a free society the rights of citizens are paramount,” said state Sen. George Rivera (R.- Pueblo), an advocate for lessened regulations on gun laws who was elected in a Sept. 10 recall to replace Democrat Angela Giron.
A Democrat-controlled legislature enacted various gun-control laws last March that precipitated the recall. Rivera was the second ever Colorado legislator to win a recall election in the state’s history. A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before their term has ended.
“An 81-page ‘mental health’ bill was fast-tracked through the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on a 7 to 4 party-line vote,” said Dudley W. Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which bills itself as Colorado’s only no-compromise gun rights organization.
The new law is a cover for gun control, he said. “If this bill becomes law, if you are in treatment or having a rough go of it, odds are you will lose your gun rights without due process.” Colorado house bill 14-1253 is currently waiting to be voted on in the Colorado State House.
Dudley said part of the law denies citizens their right to a jury trial in civil commitment matters. “Instead of having the protection of a jury trial of your peers, a single, anti-gun judge could decide the fate of your rights.”
No one should have that kind of unchecked power, he said. “This authority was never imagined by our founding fathers.”
Anyone who seeks voluntary residential treatment and is diagnosed with a temporary mood disorder such as depression, social anxiety, or even postpartum depression, can have their rights taken away, he said.
Gun owners need to mobilize a full-court press to stop this bill, said Dudley. “This legislation should raise a red flag in the mind of every gun owner in Colorado.”
The bill broadens the number of people who can be committed under Colorado Law, said Danielle Thompson, official spokesperson for RMGO. “The bill makes it harder for those who have recovered from mental illness to have their gun rights restored.”
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is a state-based gun lobby, with hundreds of thousands of members and supporters, and solely dedicated to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, she said.
Under the guise of public safety, the new law allows for bureaucrats to determine whether gun owners ought to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights, said Thompson. “Its main sponsors are anti-gun legislators – Sen. Linda Newell and Rep. Beth McCann.”
The proposed law would take away rights from law-abiding citizens due to a medical condition, she said. “Seeking voluntary mental health treatment can take away a citizen’s right to a trial by jury and take away a citizen’s right to own a firearm.”
RMGO immediately took action informing members and supporters of the bill and the threat to their constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights, she said. “We urged members and supporters in Colorado to contact their legislators and urge them to vote no on the ‘mental health’ bill.”
“Having a mental health issue should not preclude people from legally obtaining a firearm,” said Rivera.
Mass shootings in places such as Sandy Hook, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., by individuals who appear to have a mental health illness makes fear of mental illness part of the problem, he said. “But that does not mean we surrender our rights.”