DENVER (KDVR) — Jared Polis delivered his first State of the State address since being re-elected as Colorado’s governor.
Democrats still hold the majority at the state House, but what will Polis do about controversial issues? FOX31 spoke with the governor following his address about some areas where he and lawmakers may differ on solutions.
Lawmakers and the governor both want to see less gun violence in the state, but Polis made it clear Tuesday that right now, there are only two proposals on his radar. Polis says he wants Colorado to be one of the 10 safest states in the nation. What’s his plan to get there?
“It’s a lot right?” Polis responded. “So if it was, I wish it was, one silver bullet. Sometimes politicians will say, ‘It’s just this.’ It’s never just that. It’s very comprehensive.”
Polis supports expanding red flag law
Polis knows that crime is an issue in the state. He wants to crack down on things like auto theft and enhance community programs to keep students busy outside of school, keeping them busy and away from crime.
The governor’s conversation with FOX31 on Tuesday focused on guns. Polis said he wants to update the red flag law, specifically looking at who can petition for someone to temporarily have their guns removed before they harm themselves or anyone else.
Polis has mentioned expanding the list of petitioners, and he’s mentioned district attorneys. Is there anyone else that he thinks needs to be on it that list?
“We’re very open to this discussion. It’s a tool that’s already been used hundreds of times in our state. And it’s unquestionably reduced suicides and perhaps reduced other gun crimes,” Polis said. “There should be a temporary way where they can remove access to their weapons. It’s a very dangerous combination — mental health crisis and weapons — so it’s on the books. It’s been used. But we know it needs to be broader, and I think DAs are a logical petitioner to add, and we are certainly open about what others may make sense.”
In his opening remarks on the first day of the session, Senate President Steve Fenberg said “Senator (Tom) Sullivan will introduce a bill to expand and improve Colorado’s extreme risk protection orders. So if local law enforcement can’t or won’t be the ones to bring the issue to a judge, others like district attorneys and counselors can and will.”
Meanwhile, in the House, Speaker Julie McCluskie said in her opening week statements: “Our efforts to reduce gun violence this session will focus on expanding how and when a red flag petition can be filed so that more key moments can be acted upon to interrupt potential acts of violence. Furthermore, we will increase waiting periods and the age
limits to purchase a firearm.”
Will Colorado crack down on ghost guns, assault weapons?
The governor also said he wants to crack down on ghost guns, but there are other proposals that have not been filed yet — like a statewide ban on assault weapons that the governor is not getting behind just yet.
“There are 100 legislators, and I’m sure they have all sorts of ideas about how to reduce crime. The two we identified today in our call for action, we were joined by Republican and Democratic mayors saying we need to do something about ghost guns. They’re untraceable. Often, it’s just clicking two or three things together — they come in the mail — assembling the gun, no serial number, not conforming with any of our standards or background checks, and we need to take action on that,” Polis said.
And what about a statewide assault weapons ban? Is that a conversation the governor would be open to?
“Well, we haven’t seen anything about that,” Polis said. “You know right now, as I’ve said, we came forward with the two we think the data shows are the most effective ways to reduce gun violence. I’m sure legislators have many different ideas on the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle that can protect our Second Amendment rights and improve our safety as a state.”