Gun, mental health advocates come together to talk in Denver

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DENVER — People from across the country came to the Denver metro area to discuss guns and mental health Saturday.

A group called Guns for Everyone put on the panel on the second annual Denver Guns Day.

A firearms importer, a mental health advocate and second amendment supporters all came together to discuss changing the stigma around guns and mental health.

Debbie Plotnick, of Mental Health America, said about 4% of violent acts are committed by people with serious mental health conditions, and Issac Chase said 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides in the U.S.

One second amendment supporter discussed his firsthand experience with red flag laws.

“Outside of being an average gun owner, my family as a last resort used Washington state’s extreme risk protection order to help my father who has a traumatic brain injury, David Anastasi said.

Colorado’s governor just signed a similar law for earlier this year.

As a second amendment supporter, Anastasi said he was hesitant to use it.

“I was worried about what if I do this to my dad, what happens to the guns that he owns, all this stuff is going through my head but it got to a point that I had to make decision,” he said.

Anastasi said his family’s decision to take legal action with the red flag law likely saved his dad’s life.

“He had purchased $60,000 worth of guns in about a month,” Anastasi said.

“Sometimes people have a condition that they need to have their firearms (taken) away, that’s important, but they must have due process and not demonize of folks,” Plotnick said.

— Nicole Fierro wrote this report. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated Anastasi’s father had his firearms returned. However, his protection order does not expire until November.

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