Red flag gun warning bill faces intense opposition

DENVER -- Twenty-four hours after the Zackari Parrish Violence Prevention Act was introduced at the state Capitol, intense opposition is forming.

The bill, known as a red flag gun warning bill nationally, would allow law enforcement or family members to ask a judge to temporarily remove guns from someone deemed dangerous.

Parrish was killed on New Year's Eve by a man who was a known threat to law enforcement.

According to the legislation, if a judge issued an extreme risk protection order, a formal hearing must take place within seven days. A person could request their guns back at that hearing.

If a judge still deems a person dangerous, guns could be withheld for up to 182 days.

While Monday’s announcement suggested bipartisan support was possible, by Tuesday, most conservative Republicans privately expressed concerns.

“I am not interested in this bill,” Republican Sen. Tim Neville said.

“This disproportionately affects veterans and I think this is going to result in an increased stigma for mental health,” said Rep. Patrick Neville, Republican leader in the House.

Perhaps the Republican facing the most heat is Rep. Cole Wist, the assistant minority leader.

Privately, some conservatives have questioned if Wist should be removed from his position.

The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners created an image on Twitter calling Wist “Cole the Mole.”

Tuesday, in the bill’s first committee hearing, Wist defended his support for the legislation and the NRA.

“I have an 'A' rating with the NRA,” Wist said.

Tuesday’s hearing was the bill's first stop on what will be a rocky few days. The measure is expected to pass in the House, but the Republican-controlled Senate continues to have doubts.

At the hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, Parrish’s boss, implored lawmakers to pass this legislation.

Spurlock referenced not just Parrish’s case, but the recent case of a mom who killed her two children.

“She checked her children out of school, drives to a local gun store in Douglas County, drives to a parking lot and shoots her two children and kills herself," Spurlock said.

"Everyone in her family knew she was having mental health issues. This bill would have saved her and her children’s lives."

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