ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (FOX31) – Steven Zorn, a 2018 write-in congressional candidate, will not be able to possess or purchase guns for the next year after an Adams County judge granted an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) against him under Colorado’s new red flag law.
“There has been a credible threat of the unlawful use of a firearm by Mr. (Steven) Zorn- that is – especially when he said he’s going to get his friends with machine guns and go over to a public official’s house. That appears to the court to be clearly an attempt to intimidate or threaten a public official by the use of firearms,” said Judge Edward Moss as he made his ruling against Zorn.
Zorn is accused of making escalating threats against various public officials over the course of several months, including a death threat against the 17th Judicial District Attorney, Dave Young and threats against a few county commissioners.
“We thought it was serious enough to take this step of filing an extreme risk protection order, so we obviously are happy that the order was granted,” said Cheri Spottke, an investigator for the Westminster Police Department, the agency that requested ERPO against Zorn.
An attorney representing the Westminster Police Department, Jeff Betz, argued in court that there was a pattern of threats made by Zorn and that he had access to weapons in his past.
Zorn had been accused of making a threatening statement while holding a shotgun in front of a girlfriend during a 2018 assault and domestic violence case for which he was later acquitted.
“He suggested that he wasn’t going down without a fight if the police were called,” said Betz of the incident.
A detective also testified that Zorn had previously kept weapons for his friend who was not allowed to possess firearms.
A recent search of Zorn’s home found no weapons.
“While he may not be in possession of firearms now, that is not what the law requires a showing of. In fact, it anticipates the respondents may gain access to firearms in the future, whether it’s through friends or through purchase,” said Betz. “If the court does not issue an ERPO in this case, there is nothing preventing Mr. Zorn from going forward and obtaining a gun through access through friends or purchasing a gun.”
Betz also played a voicemail Zorn had left Mary Hodge, an Adams County commissioner, expressing frustration that no public official would meet with him regarding his concerns over his 2018 case.
“I haven’t heard back from you,” Zorn told Hodge in the voicemail. “So, my concern is that you’re not doing your – your job, and you should check that out. So, if I don’t hear from you, I’m going to assume that’s the case and just track down your grandchildren.”
Zorn is accused of making similar comments about other public officials’ family members and saying that he knew were some of the public officials lived.
“What citizen would not become frustrated if they are unable to talk to a public official about an issue that’s very important to them?” asked Linda Lauchli, the court-appointed attorney who represented Zorn. “This is how it gets started. It’s out of control because he never was able to say his piece to the people he believed could do something about it, and that’s where this all starts.”
Lauchli argued against the ERPO, saying that her client does not have a violent history.
“His record is amazingly clean for all of – for his lifetime,” she said, “and there’s nothing in that history that talks about violence, physical violence, attacking someone with or without a firearm. None of that is something that has been in his life.”
Zorn is currently in jail facing charges for the threats he is accused of making.