DENVER — Should those who pose risks to themselves or others have a gun?
That is the question in front of lawmakers with less than two weeks before the General Assembly session ends.
The Zackari Parrish III Violence Prevention Act was introduced at the state Capitol on Monday.
Here we go…with just a few days left in session a big gun debate about to get underway. Some Colorado lawmakers want to give law enforcement the authority to take away guns temporarily from those who pose a danger pic.twitter.com/nTX9rlH7Xx
— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) April 30, 2018
Parrish was a Douglas County deputy killed on New Year’s Eve by an individual who was previously listed as a threat to law enforcement in the community.
“We are not trying to take away anything from anyone. What we are trying to do is save lives,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Monday at the Capitol.
“They beg you, the legislators, the Senate to pass this bill.”
Under the proposal, any family member or law enforcement officer could go before a judge and ask for an extreme risk protection order.
If issued, the order would allow for law enforcement to seize an individual’s guns immediately.
Within seven days, however, a formal gun hearing would have to take place where the individual suspected of being dangerous could plead their case to a judge.
If a judge still decides the individual poses a threat, guns could be seized for up to six months.
The measure has bipartisan support in the House. Democrat Rep. Alec Garnet and Republican Rep. Cole Wist are sponsors.
“Eight states currently have extreme risk protection orders,” Garnet said.
“The tragic shooting of deputy Zackari Parrish was preventable,” Wist said.
The big question mark is whether or not Republican senators will support it.
“I haven’t liked what I heard so far — let’s put it that way,” Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham said early Monday.
“I think it needs to be more about the mental health state than confiscating firearms,” Republican Sen. John Cooke said.
Gov. John Hickenlooper has signaled support as has Republican candidate for attorney general George Brauchler.
#Colorado knows the pain of gun violence all too well. That is why we need to do the right thing and support the Zackari Parrish III Violence Prevention Act. This bill will save lives. #coleg @AlecGarnett @colewist pic.twitter.com/vlKUcsqljB
— Jared Polis (@GovofCO) April 30, 2018
Some questions gun groups are raising have to do with due process. Is it fair to take away someone’s constitutional right without them being present?
Other questions involve the safety of deputies. After all, they will have to be the ones taking away guns in most cases.
Spurlock said he envisioned taking away someone’s guns when they go out to the store or to work — not in a SWAT-like situation.