DENVER — It’s a law that is so controversial, dozens of Colorado sheriffs are refusing to enforce it. Colorado’s largest police agency, however, is on board.
On Jan. 2, 2020 — a day after the law went into effect — a judge signed a DPD petition granting a temporary order to deprive an apparent suicidal man of his guns.
Police say the 26-year-old was involved in domestic violence days earlier. He was never charged. The man allegedly told police he was going to “off himself” and is accused of pointing a gun at his wife and sister-in-law.
“There’s such an overlap with domestic violence on these cases sometimes,” said Joe Montoya, DPD’s division chief of investigations.
Montoya says DPD has been preparing for Red Flag orders since September.
“We put together kind of a think tank involving the city attorneys, the courts, the DA’s office and members of the Denver Police Department,” he said.
To take away someone’s guns, family or household members can now go to police or straight to the courts. Or, police can petition the courts themselves. If a judge signs off, DPD says certain guidelines are followed to avoid stand-off scenarios.
“I’d be naïve to say that it may never go there, but our hope is that we never have to deal with one like that,” Montoya said.
Deescalation techniques will be used as police demand guns while also providing mental health resources to those in distress. As a Red Flag petition is filed, DPD says it will simultaneously seek a search warrant in case a gun owner refuses to voluntarily hand over their firearms.
DPD says it has been training street officers on the law so they will understand what they can and cannot do.