18th Judicial District Attorney unveils plan to prevent gun violence

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DENVER — Many Americans are demanding some kind of action to try to prevent mass shootings in the wake of attacks in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

It seems at least one elected official in Colorado is listening.

Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler unveiled his ideas for gun violence prevention on Tuesday.

Brauchler says his plan includes asking county commissioners to fund a position for a criminal investigator dedicated solely to cracking down on and prosecuting criminals caught illegally possessing and purchasing firearms.

Convicted criminals already can’t legally buy firearms, but Brauchler says it happens and those cases don’t always make it to court.

He wants stronger penalties for those caught illegally in possession.

“Right now, it’s the lowest class felony on our books and we’ve said, ‘Oh, by the way, you can do it, get convicted and walk out of the courtroom with probation.’ There needs to be the promise of prison for someone possessing a firearm who should not have it,” Brauchler said.

Brauchler is also asking Colorado lawmakers to reform Colorado’s 72-hour mental health hold law, arguing it’s ineffective.

He has also assigned his Assistant District Attorney Matt Maillaro to spearhead efforts to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, federal law enforcement partners and local holders of federal firearms licenses to create an enhanced approach to detection, investigation and prosecution of these crimes.

Brauchler admits his proposals aren’t drastic in nature, but says that was done purposely.

“I want to deal with the things that aren’t controversial, that aren’t going to be partisan,” he said. “I think for some, there’s an attitude we have to do anything, and I disagree with that. We have to do something, and that something should be targeted at making a difference.”

Although it’s not part of his plan, Brauchler says he also supports a ban on bump stocks.

“We do not want automatic weapons out there available to the public on the streets. The bump stock is a method to defeat that law, so it makes sense to me we’re going to try and illegalize those things as well,” Brauchler said.

President Donald Trump has called for red flag laws following the shootings in Texas and Ohio.

Colorado has already passed a red flag law set to take effect in 2020, but Brauchler didn’t support the legislation.

“I just think our bill is demonstrably the most extreme, protective bill in existence in America. We didn’t have to go in that direction,” Brauchler said.

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