Colorado's Red Flag Law Faces Renewed Legal Challenge

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Red flag laws are problematic for most in the Second Amendment community. After all, none of us are comfortable with the government taking people’s guns in general, but especially without due process of law first. These laws take guns from people and then turn the onus of proof that they’re not a danger to the very people who have their guns taken.

And yet, a number of states have passed them regardless of these concerns. Unsurprisingly, there have been legal challenges.

In Colorado, a challenge once thought to be dead has renewed life.

The Colorado Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a district court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit that claimed Colorado’s red flag gun law was improperly passed and sent the case back to district court.

The suit claimed passage of the law violated the state constitution and Colorado House rules because requests by former Rep. Lori Saine of Firestone and Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs to read the full bill were denied or not considered.

At one point, several clerks began reading different sections of the bill at the same time in response to a request the full bill be read.

Loveland-based Rocky Mountain Gun Owners funded the lawsuit, which was also brought by Saine, Williams and Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock.

The constitution calls for bills to be read in full unless “dispensed with upon unanimous consent of the members present.”

So, this is good news for folks in Colorado, right?

Well, it’s “meh” news.

The problem is that this is a technicality. They didn’t properly pass the bill, so while that’s an issue and the bill should be thrown out, there’s nothing to stop the legislature from passing it all over again in the next session.

Sure, they’ll have to go through all of the steps again, but I haven’t seen much out of Colorado that would lead me to believe that the red flag law wouldn’t be passed all over again.

In other words, while this would be a setback for anti-Second Amendment forces in the state, it’s not like the law won’t come back and end up on the books again. It’s also possible that what replaces it will be more onerous in some regard.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to see this overturned. It’s bad enough to violate people’s rights, but to also do so in an illegal manner just adds insult to injury.

I just don’t want anyone getting their hopes up that this could spell some significant defeat long term in the state. I assure you, it’s not. It will be, at most, a minor setback in the grand scheme of things.

That is unless something drastic happens in Colorado politics between now and when the legislature was able to revisit the issue. Unfortunately, that something drastic hasn’t even hinted at becoming a possibility, so I think it best not to hold your breath on that one.

In the meantime, the law being overturned would benefit those who have had their guns wrongly confiscated. Even if a new law is passed, the process will begin anew, thus giving those impacted an opportunity to prepare.

So maybe the news isn’t completely “meh” after all.

Dec 04, 2021 11:30 AM ET