Denver police file what is likely the first extreme risk protection order under new ‘red flag’ law

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DENVER -- The Denver Police Department has filed what is likely the first extreme risk protection order under the state's new "red flag" law.

Under the new law, which went into effect Jan. 1, any Colorado citizen can apply for an ERPO against a gun owner if the citizen feels the gun owner may be a threat to themselves or others.

A judge decides if someone initially meets the criteria to have his or her guns taken away. This first hearing will be conducted ex parte, without the gun owner present.

A judge can decide if the situation warrants the sheriff and his or her deputies moving in to take guns away immediately without the gun owner's knowledge and before a notice to appear in court can be given to the gun owner.

DPD says in this case, a judge granted a temporary filing. In 14 days, there will be a hearing to determine if a continuing order is necessary.

DPD says it filed the order against a man involved in a domestic violence situation and there were suicidal statements.

The man's name was not released.

The department says the man turned over his two firearms before the ERPO was filed.

“What we do know is, where there is a firearm involved, a victim is five times more likely to end up dead as a result,” Violence Free Colorado’s associate director Amy Pohl said.

Colorado has set aside funds to have attorneys on standby to represent gun owners in ERPO cases.

Attorney Claire McGuire Elster is just one Colorado attorney who has signed up to represent gun owners when an ERPO is filed.

"It's our job to make sure due process is held. Each individual respondent will be different, obviously, but I expect most clients will maintain their right to have firearms," McGuire Elster said during an interview in December.

Nicole Fierro contributed to this report.

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