Polis wants Colorado to "evangelize" failed red flag laws

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is a big fan of gun control. He’s overseen anti-gun measures in his state and would probably like to see a whole lot more of them. But he’s definitely not interested in repealing even failed gun control laws.

After all, in the wake of Colorado Springs, Polis is hoping to “evangelize” the red flag law.

While red flag laws have been on the books in the state since 2020, in the aftermath of this weekend’s Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, Gov. Jared Polis said the statute isn’t being sufficiently used.

“I think it needs to be really evangelized more and talked about more,” Polis said during an interview on Colorado Matters. “I think that while it has been used a couple hundred times, I think that not everybody knows that it’s on the books.”

“We also have very disparate records of utilizing it from different county sheriffs … I think everybody should look at their practices and say, ‘Hey, if there’s somebody that we feel is dangerous, that there’s not enough to, you know, take them in and hold them on a criminal charge, can we at least remove access to their weapons?’ There is a way to do that under Colorado law, and I want to make sure people are aware of that and know that.”

All of that, however, is a really interesting way to admit that the red flag law that most people should know about by now did absolutely nothing at all.

There are a lot of issues with red flag laws, including some seriously unaddressed due process concerns, but it also hinges on other people actually thinking someone they care about is capable of something like this.

The alleged killer had given his family more than enough reason to seek out a red flag order. I mean, he apparently threatened to blow up his mother’s house. One would think that would trigger the desire.

But Polis thinks the problem is that they don’t know about it, that people are unaware the state has such a law.

I find that very unlikely.

Oh, some people may have forgotten, but red flag laws occupy a lot of news coverage around the time of a mass shooting. Media in Colorado will generally note the state has such a law on the books. There are reminders.

There was also significant coverage of the law’s passage.

People know the law exists.

What they don’t think about, though, is someone they love being capable of taking a gun into a nightclub and killing five people. That’s the part they can’t wrap their heads around.

Sure, some do, but most don’t. They remember the person as a child or some other, happy memory and tell themselves that this person could never do such a thing.

Reminding people that a red flag law is on the books won’t change that.

But I do find Polis’s choice of words interesting. We tend to think of evangelism as a religious thing, the idea of spreading the faith through words and deeds. In a way, red flag laws are an article of faith among the anti-gunners. They simply assume they’ll do the job of stopping mass shootings.

They don’t, clearly.

But Polis wants to share the gospel of gun control throughout Colorado because his own faith cannot fathom the possibility that he’s wrong.