DENVER -- On Friday afternoon, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the “red flag” bill that would allow guns to be seized from people who are determined by a court to pose a significant risk to themselves or others.
The legislation does not take effect until 2020.
"We might be saving the life your nephew niece or grandchild," Governor Jared Polis said at the bill signing.
"I struggle with the price that we paid to get where we are today," Rep. Tom Sullivan, a sponsor of the bill, said. Sullivan lost his son in the Aurora theatre shooting.
The legislation would allow family or law enforcement to seek a court order to have guns seized if they believe the owner is a threat.
If approved, a court hearing would be held within 14 days to determine whether to extend the seizure, up to 364 days.
The bill also would require anyone whose guns are seized to prove that he or she no longer poses a risk in order to get them back.
Many in Colorado’s law enforcement community have come out against the bill, including the Denver and Aurora police unions, and several sheriffs.
One of the key supporters is Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock. The bill is named after one of his deputies, Zackari Parrish, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2017.
"It could have been averted with the ability this law gives law enforcement," Spurlock said.
Just because the bill is now law doesn't mean the debate is over. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a pro second amendment group, has promised recalls over lawmakers involved.
Others have promised lawsuits. Weld County Commissioners have said:
"With his signature, the Governor weakened our 2nd and 4th Amendment Rights. [...] , We will be working with other county commissioners from across the state, our sheriff, along with our attorneys, to conduct a thorough legal review of the bill."
"We are going to duke it out in the courts now," Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) said.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said he believes this will uphold legal challenges.
"This is one that I'm going to have an easy time defending," Weiser said.