‘Red flag’ bill proponents say it would have impact on victims of domestic violence

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DENVER – State lawmakers are considering what’s known as a "red flag" bill, which would allow the seizure of weapons from persons deemed by a court to pose a significant risk to themselves or to others.

Red Flag legislation is often associated with mental health issues and mass shootings. Colorado’s attorney general believes it could also be lifesaving for victims of domestic violence.

“Close to 60 percent of the deaths [in domestic violence incidents] come with a firearm,” Attorney General Phil Weiser said. “If you are going to engage in violence, the most likely way that violence turns deadly is a firearm.”

Weiser says when a spouse seeks a restraining order or protective order in court from their partner, the judge should have the ability to require all firearms be surrendered.

“That is something that is very important to address domestic violence, because if we have warning signs but we don’t take protective action, results can be tragic,” he said.

Opponents have argued the proposal goes against Second Amendment rights and may discourage people from seeking help because of a fear of losing their firearms.

However, Weiser argues saving lives should be the top priority for Colorado.

“If someone says, 'I’m so angry, I’m going to use my weapons,' that’s not an idle threat. That’s a red flag,” he said.

The bill will head to the House Appropriations Committee next, where it is expected to pass.

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