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To call red flag laws controversial is putting it mildly. While some take issue with the temporary disarmament of people, many gun rights supporters feel there is at least some wisdom to the idea. The problem for those, however, is the lack of due process and the fact that some could game the system to use it maliciously.
Despite those concerns, that hasn’t stopped a number of states from adopting such laws.
One of those states is Colorado, which in recent years has seemingly failed to meet a gun control policy it didn’t like. Colorado passed its red flag law earlier this year. Now, a gun rights group is filing suit to kill the law.
Head of the gun rights group Dudley Brown and several House Republicans say Democrats who control the House did not fulfill a Republican request to read the bill out loud in full in an intelligible way.
“In this case, Democrats didn’t see that they were violating the Constitution to pass a bill to violate the Constitution. And now they’re going to see it,” Brown said.
Other lawsuits could be aimed at the substance of the law and efforts to recall legislators who supported it are in the works, he said.
“We’re going to do all of the above,” Brown said. “We believe that the red flag bill is unconstitutional itself.”
A week after the bill was read, Senate Republicans filed a lawsuit about that same issue on a different bill, when Democratic leaders set up a bank of five computers to read a lengthy bill in an unintelligible way. A Denver District Court judge ultimately sided with the GOP and said bill readings have to be understandable.
Democrats said the lawsuit against HB 1177 is frivolous.
“No one came to me on the floor and said that they wanted the chair to do anything differently than what had been done,” Sen. Majority Leader Alec Garnett said. “This is not about what happened on the floor. This is about the gun lobby trying to unwind a very popular measure to help protect and save lives here in Colorado because they liked to build their name recognition and like to be in the news.”
Considering the judge’s ruling on the previous lawsuit, this one has a chance. I’m not a fan of going after bills like this on procedural issues, mostly because it’s too easy to pass the same bill again.
That said, how many Coloradoans could be spared from being disarmed because of this bill in the meantime?
Plus, it should be noted that Brown explicitly says that this isn’t the only way they’ll attack this bill, which is good. Bills like this need to be defeated and defeated hard. People in Colorado shouldn’t have to worry about losing their right to keep and bear arms, even temporarily, especially when it can be based on flimsy evidence and no due process.