Watch CBS News

Colorado 'Red Flag' Gun Bill Passes 1st Hearing

DENVER (AP/CBS4) - A Colorado House committee has passed "red flag" legislation that would permit the temporary seizure of guns from people deemed by a court to pose a threat to themselves or others. The Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 on party lines late Thursday to send the bill to the chamber's appropriations committee.

Crowds Gather For 'Red Flag Bill' Hearing At State Capitol

The legislation would allow family or law enforcement to seek a court order to have guns seized if they believe the gun owner poses a threat.

If a judge approves a request, a subsequent court hearing would determine whether to extend the seizure, up to 364 days. It's up to the gun owner to prove he or she no longer poses a threat to get the weapons back.

The bill is named after Douglas County Deputy Zachary Parish, who was shot and killed by a man who was mentally unstable. The hearing was held on what would have been Parish's 31st birthday. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock among those supporting the bill.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock (credit: CBS)

"This bill is about mental health and I keep saying it and I keep hearing people all the time deferring it's something else. This is a mental health issue. We have a mental health crisis in this state. We have a mental health crisis in this country and this bill is going to be one more step that will help us," said Spurlock.

(credit: CBS)

Dave Kopel, a Second Amendment expert, says the gun owner shouldn't have to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, they deserve the right to possess guns.

"How do you prove you're non-dangerous in this? That's a high standard. There would have to be some burden of proof, but this is set at the highest level of burden of proof in civil cases and proving a negative can often be very difficult," said Kopel.

Senate Republicans defeated a "red flag" bill last year, arguing it infringed on Second Amendment rights.

Democrats took over the Senate in November's elections to control both chambers.

Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, called for a "red flag" law during his 2018 campaign.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.