DENVER — The Problem Solvers are covering every angle of the proposed “red flag” bill. If passed, the bill would allow weapons to be seized from people who are determined by a court to pose significant risk to themselves or others. This is done through an extreme risk protection order, or ERPO.
In order to get that protection order, there are some steps one must take.
First, the petitioner — either law enforcement, a family or household member — must prove someone is at risk to themselves or others. The bill says it must be done through a preponderance of evidence.
“If you think about the scales, if they’re empty, they’re even. And if you put a feather on one scale and it tips just ever so slightly, that’s the amount of evidence that we’re talking about in order to prove by a preponderance. It’s just more likely than not,” said former federal prosecutor Doug Richards.
The second step is to get an affidavit signed.
“You’ll walk in, there’ll be a form and there’ll just be a place where you have to just write in the key facts that make you think that this person is a threat. And then, at the bottom, it says, ‘Do you swear under the penalty of perjury that what you’re saying is true and accurate?’ And then you sign,” Richards said.
Within a day of turning in the affidavit, there will be a hearing either in person or over the phone without the defendant. If a judge grants the first protection order, a second hearing with the gun owner present will take place within 14 days. At the second hearing, the petitioner will have to establish clear and convincing evidence.
“It’s less evidence that’s required to convict somebody of a crime but it’s the amount of evidence that’s required to take your children from you, to give you some perspective,” Richards said.
The second hearing determines if the person in question gets their weapons taken away for up to a full year.