By ASSOCIATED PRESS • APR 23, 2019 Colorado's highest court is set to decide whether a law banning gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds violates a person's state constitutional right to bear arms.
The Denver Post reports that the Colorado Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear the case, which stems from a 2016 lawsuit by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and other gun rights advocates challenging the law.
Neither the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners nor the National Association for Gun Rights — which is also a plaintiff in the case — returned The Denver Post's requests for comment.
Both the Colorado Court of Appeals and a district court found the law constitutional. Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Litigation Director Hannah Shearer says it would be surprising if the state supreme court were to deviate from those decisions.
Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
September 21, 2019, 06:47 AM
November 12, 2019, 09:22 PM
Modern Day Savage
Channel 9 Denver has been promoting this undercover investigative report for at least the last couple days. I am deeply concerned by what the next legislative session will produce 2 months from now.
I realize that gun owners and gun store clerks are well meaning...but I truly wish gun store owners would prepare the clerks working in their stores for possible investigative undercover reports like this one, and to show a bit more restraint in just how they communicate with both the public and the media...
I've said it before and I'll say it again, sometimes gun owners are their own worst enemies. They may know about guns and shooting but little about what to say when dealing with a sensitive issue like this...I mean damn, just damn, I can't believe that some of these clerks didn't show more restraint and more considered replies. Loose lips sink ships.
Best grab what you need now before the next legislative session.
NOTE: there are multiple pictures, multiple video interviews, charts, and hyperlinks in the actual linked website undercover report and so I would strongly suggest that you click on the link to see the entire report. Also note, this is a relatively in depth report and so it will take some time to get through both the report itself as well as the various videos and charts. Lastly, I'd strongly recommend that you take the time to watch the last video in the article titled Why we did this story.
OVERLOADED How large-capacity gun magazines are still being sold in Colorado
BY MARSHALL ZELINGER, ANNA HEWSON AND ZACK NEWMAN
A state law banning the sale and transfer of large-capacity gun magazines has not stopped the sale and transfer of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
An undercover investigation by 9Wants to Know found examples of gun stores in Colorado either ignoring the law altogether or finding a loophole to get around the law.
"It's shocking to see that people are doing this,” said state Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.
In 2013, a Democratically-controlled state legislature passed four comprehensive bills dealing with guns, including the bill sponsored by Fields banning magazines that hold more than 15 bullets.
The bill, signed into law by then-Gov. John Hickenlooper, banned the sale, transfer and possession of a large-capacity magazine as of July 1, 2013.
"We decided that we were going to go out and take on the NRA," Hickenlooper said during the second presidential debate July 30 in Detroit. "We passed universal background checks, we limited magazine capacity, we did the basic work, that for whatever reason, doesn't seem to be able to get done in Washington."
Yet, six years later, magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition are still being sold in Colorado. Legislators thought that they banned them, but gun store employees describe a loophole in the law.
"It's just poor wording with the law, which benefits us. We can work around it," said an employee at Centennial Gun Club at 11800 E. Peakview Ave. in Arapahoe County. "It's a loophole in the wording that they gave that lets us keep selling."
A gun owner contacted 9Wants to Know asking why gun stores were able to sell large-capacity magazines despite the state’s ban. A 9Wants to Know producer, wearing a hidden camera, went into 10 stores in six Front Range counties to find out what type of magazines were being sold.
In those visits, all of which occurred during business hours, employees at one store after another offered to sell a large-capacity magazine disassembled in parts.
GALLERY BELOW: Click arrows to see what employees had to say about parts kits. 1 / 5
Our undercover investigation found gun stores selling these "parts kits" in Arapahoe, Douglas, El Paso and Larimer counties. The kits are large-capacity magazines sold in pieces, ready to be assembled after they are purchased.
"This is a 30-round mag; we have to sell it as parts,” said the employee at Iron Horse Armory. “That's one of Colorado's retarded laws.”
"But, you know how to get around them, so that's good," said an Iron Horse Armory customer who was nearby.
"I'm a little stunned by how open it is and how blatantly they're saying, 'You know, this is a stupid law, but this is the way you can get around it,'" Fields said.
Fields sponsored House Bill 13-1224, banning the sale, transfer or possession of a large-capacity magazine, which was defined as holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition. However, a person can continue to have a large-capacity magazine if he or she owned it prior to July 1, 2013, and maintains continuous possession of the magazine.
"Seeing those businesses operating under a loophole that's in our statute, is just sickening to me," Fields said after seeing the undercover video shot inside Colorado gun stories in October.
Fields said this is not what she had in mind when she sponsored the bill.
"The whole goal, when I ran the bill in 2013, was to limit that capacity,” she said.
"If this is what the intent of the law was and we know that this loophole exists now, it's time for the legislature to go back and reword it or work through whatever process they need to, to either close that or re-address something else here in Colorado," said Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown.
Brown, a Democrat elected as sheriff in Arapahoe County in 2018, was aware stores were selling parts kits before viewing the undercover video.
"I went in to purchase these in uniform and he took them apart right in front of me. And I said, 'Well, you don't have to do that, I'm a law enforcement officer.' They say, 'We do this with all of our magazine sales,'" said Brown.
Law enforcement officers are exempt under the 2013 law.
"It's a slippery slope of ‘What's their intent’? Are they rebuilding a magazine that they owned previously? Or are they buying it to put together as a magazine right then and there?" Brown asked. "Parts kits are not magazines."
If the item, sold as pieces, is put together, it would hold more bullets than the state law allows.
"If somebody puts it together, it becomes a magazine," Brown said.
"It doesn't take a college education — not even an eighth-grade education," a customer at Iron Horse Armory said after looking at the 30-round magazine kits.
"It's such a gray area, but it's pretty easy," said the employee at Iron Horse Armory. "It's at your discretion once you walk out the door to how you use it."
What magazine ban?
Our investigation also found two gun stores, one in Weld County and another in El Paso County, selling the large-capacity magazines as though the law did not exist. "We're a sanctuary county, we don't give a f---. We just sell everything as is, preassembled," said an employee at Family Firearms Sales at 3882 Maizeland Road in Colorado Springs.
"We sell up to 60-round drums for the AR-15, 50-round drums for the .308 and the AR-10s, 75 rounds for the AK," said an employee of Tacticool Arms at 928 13th St. in Greeley, the county seat for Weld County. "Our sheriff has openly stated he does not agree with the magazine ban, he believes it's unconstitutional and will not enforce it."
"No, that’s not a statement that I’ve made, that we're not going to enforce gun laws," Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said. "There are some issues with gun ownership that we take very serious, especially if someone is committing a violent act with a firearm."
Reams, a Republican elected as sheriff in 2014 and reelected in 2018, has been outspoken about a different gun law in Colorado. He declared Weld County a “sanctuary county” as it relates to the state's new “red flag” law that will take effect next year.
That law allows a judge to order someone's weapons be seized if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others. He said this was the first time he had ever been asked about the state's large-capacity magazine ban, which took effect before he was elected as sheriff. After watching the undercover video, he thought the gun store employee might be confusing his stance on the red flag law with the large-capacity magazine ban.
"I don’t know where that individual is getting his direction,” Reams said. “I would encourage people to understand the law and to understand how it applies to them. I do know who the owner is, so I’ll probably have a conversation with him and talk about business practices. You don’t want to put one of your potential customers in a situation where they could be in trouble with the law."
Whether selling parts kits is against the law appears to be open to interpretation, but the gun store in Weld County told an undercover producer they sell the magazines outright.
"We’re not going out and making this a primary issue that we’re looking for in Weld County, but that doesn’t mean that this person [can’t] be picked up at any place at any time and have that magazine called into question," Reams said.
If a person is caught with a magazine, the law puts the burden of proof on law enforcement to prove when the magazine was purchased. If the person owned it prior to July 1, 2013, it would be legal. Essentially, all it would take is for someone to lie about when they got the magazine to try to avoid punishment.
"I don’t think the governor (Hickenlooper) realizes that, at least the magazine ban had, I would say, almost zero effect," Reams said.
Asked if this is proof that we don’t need the law or that it might as well be repealed, Reams said “absolutely.”
"That’s proof that you don’t need the law, and that’s been the proof since it was passed in 2013," Reams said. "This law, while it made some people feel like, 'Hey, we’ve addressed the situation in Colorado,' it’s wholly ineffective, which your video shows."
In July, Hickenlooper referenced the large-capacity magazine ban on a national stage during the second presidential debate. He was unaware of what was happening in Colorado gun stores until he saw the undercover video.
"Certainly, the intention was that you shouldn't be able to buy a 60-round magazine," Hickenlooper said. "I'm probably as surprised as you are."
Hickenlooper is no longer running for president, instead he's trying to win the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate. If he were still governor, he said he would close the loophole.
"Obviously, I would go to the legislature and say, 'this is not the intention of what we worked so hard to get passed, and let's go back and try and find what that loophole is, where the language is not sufficient and improve it,'" Hickenlooper said.
"This is the point of good media. Good journalism is because when you point something like this out it becomes our responsibility to fix it."
VIDEO BELOW: Gun shops explain how they get around law to sell large-capacity gun magazines
Who's been punished under this ban?
Just because the magazines are still being sold in Colorado does not mean the law has never been enforced.
In two of the stores our producer visited, employees provided similar, albeit inaccurate, stories.
"There's only been one prosecuted case of it ever even recorded, and he had 12 other charges in front of the one,” said the employee at Iron Horse Armory.
"There's never been anybody prosecuted in our state for having a bigger magazine,” said an employee at Sportsman’s Warehouse at 5125 N. Elizabeth St. in Pueblo. “They did do one of them, it was an add-on charge. I don't know if it was a burglary or something, but they added those charges, plus he had a high-cap magazine, so they added it on to him, but nobody's ever been actually charged for that.”
Someone has been charged with the large-capacity magazine ban more than once. However, the employees were accurate in saying it’s not the primary offense.
The law has mainly been used similarly to a seatbelt violation; not a primary violation. The large-capacity magazine ban has been used as a charge 128 times in six years. The majority of the time, the person was charged with another crime, such as a drug or traffic offense, and then the large-capacity magazine violation was included when a large-capacity magazine was discovered as part of the offense. There were at least three instances where the large-capacity magazine violation was the only charge.
In 12 of the 128 cases, the person was sentenced for having a magazine holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
Six of those cases resulted in time behind bars. Five of those cases resulted in probation and not time in jail or prison. All were required to pay into the Victims Assistance Fund. Most paid court fines.
In 2015, Nicholas Motley was the first person sentenced under the ban. According to court documents, he served 24 days in jail and was fined $1,363.50.
Motley did not respond to repeated attempts to contact him for comment.
Arrest affidavits or probable cause statements in all 12 cases that resulted in convictions showed that in six of the cases, responding officers and deputies were made aware of a gun with a large-capacity magazine during a traffic stop.
Those traffic stops were conducted because of an invalid license plate or a turn without a signal. The circumstances of the six cases are different, but in each case, law enforcement conducted a search of the vehicle, and that’s when the large-capacity magazine(s) was found. In three other traffic stops, the car search was the result of a 911 call reporting a suspicious person or car.
In one case, law enforcement returned large-capacity magazines, even after the person was sentenced under the state’s ban.
Cardell Hardy pled guilty to violating the large-capacity prohibition. Police officers found two 70-round magazines, a 30-round magazine, an M11-A1 gun, ammunition and a silencer in Hardy’s car during a traffic stop.
Those illegal magazines were returned to Hardy by the Idaho Springs Police Department. That should not have happened, according to Idaho Springs Police Department Chief of Police Christian Malanka.
“The magazines were returned in error,” Malanka said.
Malanka blamed the mistake on a misinterpretation of a stamp from the district attorney’s office.
“The DA stamp said either return or destroy evidence,” Malanka said. “It’s up to me: The stamp said either/or. I should have interpreted [it] correctly [and] not return[ed] illegal magazines [he was] found guilty of being in possession of. He pled guilty to [having] it unlawfully. It’s obviously an accident.”
While it was a different officer that made the blunder, Malanka took responsibility for it. The police chief said the officer that made the error is generally “very meticulous.” Going forward, Malanka said any similar scenarios will go through him first.
“[We’re] going to add another level of scrutiny so this doesn’t happen again,” Malanka said. “Any firearm-related dispositions will come across my desk.”
Hardy hung up when first asked about the case, and he did not respond to further attempts for comment.
A Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) background check showed Hardy has not committed another crime since he pleaded guilty to this charge.
This law cost lawmakers' jobs
Colorado became the center of the gun debate in 2013. It was the legislative session after the Aurora theater shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. Both mass shootings involved suspects who used guns with large-capacity magazines.
"We want bad guys to have to reload on a regular basis, because when they are reloading, [that] means that gun is a paperweight, and that is your opportunity to get away and overpower that assailant," said former Senate President John Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat.
The top Democrat in the Senate in 2013, Morse, along with Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, faced recall elections and were voted out of office on Sept. 10, 2013. Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, resigned on Nov. 27, 2013, before petitions to force a recall were submitted.
Morse is now living in Denver and working as an accountant. 9Wants To Know showed him the undercover video from inside the gun stores to find out if what he saw was what he intended when he supported the large-capacity magazine ban.
"No. Absolutely, this was not what was intended,” Morse said. “What was intended was you don't get to sell these magazines in Colorado under any circumstances. I guarantee you that was not our intent. And if we did make that mistake, the legislature needs to go back and fix that forth with, like call a special session, and fix it."
A special session is the type of legislative session called for by the governor, with a specific focus by the governor.
"I have no doubt that Gov. Polis will lead the charge to do what needs to be done,” Morse said. “If, in fact, there’s a loophole here, Gov. Polis will lead the charge to get this fixed."
WATCH: This lawmaker lost his job for a law that isn't exactly being followed
Who's avoided talking about what we found?
Despite multiple attempts to arrange an interview with Polis and show him the undercover video, his spokesman, Conor Cahill, refused unless the governor’s staff was able to see the undercover video ahead of time. None of the other elected representatives interviewed for this story made this request.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office first agreed to an interview on the topic of large-capacity gun magazines, but then declined the next day. His spokesman said any interview with Weiser would have to wait until after Nov. 13, when the state Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the constitutionality of the state's large-capacity magazine ban.
Morse said he believes both the store and the customer are violating the law.
"It'll be interesting to see if any arrests...come out of your reporting, and then see what the courts think," Morse said.
Stores we visited
A producer with 9Wants to Know wore an undercover camera in 10 gun stores and sporting goods locations to ask about gun magazines like any other customer could.
IRON HORSE ARMORY - DOUGLAS COUNTY This store sold parts kits and described how to put the magazine back together.
"It's at your discretion once you walk out the door to how you use it," the employee said.
We called the owner of Iron Horse Armory. He said he didn't want to stick his neck out in this story, but would call us back, which he has not done as of the date of publication.
CENTENNIAL GUN CLUB - ARAPAHOE COUNTY This store sold magazines disassembled prior to the customer leaving the store.
“Fifteen for the pistol or rifle is the maximum we can transfer or sell you,” an employee said about magazines.
That employee then demonstrated how a magazine that holds more than 15 bullets would be taken apart at the register, and how we could put it back together.
"We can get them to you with the newer laws this way and we're happy to, we just wish we didn't have to," the employee said.
The store owner has not responded to multiple attempts for comment.
USA LIBERTY ARMS - LARIMER COUNTY This store sold parts kits and an employee showed our producer large-capacity magazines, including 100-round drums.
"There’s a lot of shops that won’t even sell them at all, but we don’t care about that," the employee said.
When called, an employee at the store provided an email to speak to the owner. The owner has not responded to multiple emails.
TACTICOOL ARMS - WELD COUNTY This store sold large-capacity magazines without disassembling them into parts.
"We have 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s and 60s, if we can get the 60s in stock for the AR-15."
When reached by phone, the store’s owner, “Gunny,” said he did not want to take part in the story, nor answer why his store sells large-capacity magazines despite the ban.
SCHEELS - LARIMER COUNTY This national gun store chain at 4755 Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Johnstown does not sell large-capacity magazines or parts kits.
"In Colorado, you cannot transfer a magazine that has a greater than 15-round magazine," said the employee.
“Some of the other gun shops in the area will sell you magazine kits where they pop the bottom off the magazine and go ‘Hey, this is a perch kit, it’s not a magazine.’ Scheels, as a company, made the determination that we were going to abide by what the Colorado law is, which is 15 rounds."
The rifle manager confirmed what the store employee said about the store's policy. He said he didn't see why a company would risk everything over a $5 piece of plastic.
SPECIALTY SPORTS & SUPPLY - EL PASO COUNTY This store described to our producer that they sell parts kits.
"We sell part kits,” the employee said. “You buy this rifle, it's not going to come with a magazine, and then you have to buy one of these right here, and you're going to put it together, and it's legal, but we can't sell it that way.”
Jeff Lepp, the store owner, said the magazine ban is a “very foolish thing.”
“Very few people in the state would agree with the decision Mr. Hickenlooper made to enact that law,” Lepp said.
Asked about our interaction with his employee, Lepp said, “What he’s telling you is it’s not a magazine, it’s a group of parts.”
He said most people don’t come into the store and ask about magazines. He also said, prior to the 2013 ban, his store did not sell large-capacity magazines as parts kits.
“I don’t feel that I’m doing anything wrong,” Lepp said. “If somebody comes in here and they act like they’re not the right kind of person for a gun, I’ve had to get into some pretty heated moments with people before and say, ‘This isn’t really where you should be.’”
PUEBLO SPORTING GOODS - PUEBLO COUNTY This store sold parts kits.
"Most of the law enforcement guys look the other way," the employee said. Another employee said he would be able to get a parts kit.
"I can probably get you a kit for that, yeah,” an employee said. “And all it is is a disassembled one, you know what I mean. It's stupid, but it's the way it is.”
An employee at the store said he would get a message to the owner that we wanted to talk with him.
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS - PUEBLO COUNTY This national chain at 5945 N. Elizabeth St. in Pueblo, did not sell large-capacity gun magazines or parts kits.
SPORTSMAN'S WAREHOUSE - PUEBLO COUNTY This national chain did not sell large-capacity gun magazines or parts kits.
"If you already own it, you own it, but you will not find anything more than 15 rounds in a store like this," the employee said. "No kits, nothing like that here."
FAMILY FIREARMS SALES - EL PASO COUNTY This store sold large-capacity magazines as though the ban does not exist.
"We have everything, up to 60 rounds are our biggest ones," the employee said.
"We're a sanctuary county, we don't give a f---. We just sell everything as is, preassembled."
An employee provided an email contact to the owner. We emailed the owner asking to talk with him about "how your store views the large-capacity magazine law." In an emailed response, the owner said, "No thanks. Your liberal bias on our liberties smacks of communism."
Why we did this story
[embedded video at the website report]This message has been edited. Last edited by: Modern Day Savage,
November 27, 2019, 10:50 PM
Modern Day Savage
Color me jaded...but I find the timing of the release of the 9 News undercover investigative report and the scheduled Colorado Supreme Court hearing on this case to be...intentional.
Embedded videos and hyperlinks can be found at the linked website article.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners sued the state over the 2013 law, saying it violates the constitution.
Author: Marshall Zelinger Published: 8:31 PM MST November 13, 2019 Updated: 8:31 PM MST November 13, 2019
COLORADO, USA — The Colorado Attorney General's Office believes there is no loophole in Colorado's large-capacity gun magazine law.
The Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments on the constitutional challenge of the state's six-year-old ban on gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners sued the state over the 2013 law, saying it violates the constitution.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the Attorney General's Office referred to the parts kits that 9Wants to Know discovered being sold in an undercover investigation.
The parts kits are gun magazines disassembled and sold together, but in pieces.
"A reasonable inference of what the legislature was trying to do was target people who sold, in two bags, what would be illegal to sell together," said Solicitor General Eric Olson during the State Supreme Court hearing.
Part of the hearing focused on what the state legislature meant when it defined a large-capacity magazine as "designed to be readily converted to accept more than 15 rounds of ammunition."
"If you walk into a gun store and see two bags, saying buy this one and this one and put them together yourself, and that's what they tell you, that clearly violates the law," Olson said. "To limit the ability of people to obtain these large-capacity magazines, the 'design to be readily converted,' targets the sellers to make sure sellers don't skirt the rule by selling two kits."
The purpose of the hearing was not to determine if parts kits were legal, it was to decide if the state legislature was legal in passing the law in the first place in 2013.
"For 138 years, the General Assembly never banned a single firearm or firearm component, HB-1224 is a departure from a 138-year tradition," said Barry Arrington, the attorney representing Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
House Bill 1224 created a definition for what constitutes a large-capacity magazine.
"Large-capacity magazines is actually a political term more than a term of actuality. A lot of these magazines that are banned are the standard capacity that come with these weapons," Arrington said.
Colorado Supreme Court Justice Carlos Samour asked about the need for large-capacity magazines outside of the military.
"What I would say is that standard-capacity magazines, which are magazines that overwhelmingly come with the weapons that they're entitled to be used a part of, come in 20-round magazines, 17-round magazines for certain handguns," Arrington said. "The standard-capacity for most semi-automatic rifles is 30 rounds and those types of magazines are overwhelmingly used by law enforcement and citizens for self-defense."
Justice Richard L. Gabriel asked about the idea of the legislature limiting how many bullets are allowed before someone is forced to reload.
"The odds of you hurting more people is significantly higher than if you had to stop and reload. What's crazy about that?" Gabriel asked.
"The evidence at trial was that two had been abused. Two magazines. Not two million. Two magazines had been abused in the state of Colorado. So, it's literally the fact that the government is saying if it's a one-in-a-million chance that one of these firearm components can be abused by a homicidal maniac, we get to ban them all." Arrington said.
"If you're going to look at statistics and you're going to say the odds are so low that no one has ever used this for a mass shooting, then the odds are also low that anyone needs 15 rounds to defend oneself," Gabriel said.
"A person defending his home should not be deprived of those advantages when the person attacking him has those advantages," Arrington said. "Reserve capacity is essential in a self-defense situation. Even law enforcement, statistics show, only hit 30% of the time. Citizens are going to hit less than that."
During the state's argument, Olson brought up a statistic that was mentioned during the trial court.
"There's not a single instance of anyone in Colorado actually firing more than 15 rounds to defend themselves, while on the other side of the ledger, we know there are at least two horrific tragedies that occurred in this state using large-capacity magazines," Olson said. "The legislature was trying to remove peoples' access to these weapons."
The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments for 30 minutes by each side. The court might not make a decision until next year.
November 30, 2019, 09:58 AM
Modern Day Savage
I just got word of some of the gun control legislation being proposed by Rep. Tom Sullivan for the 2020 legislative session. I haven't got many details at this point, and this is not a comprehensive list but, so far, proposed legislation includes:
- Requirement that guns be locked up when not in use.
- 3 day waiting period after a background check is performed.
- A felon attempting to purchase a firearm would be charged with a felony rather than the current misdemeanor.
- Increasing the age limit to buy a long gun from 18 to 21.
- Ammo Tax
- This last proposal I didn't fully understand as it was described, but some sort of caliber restriction on ammo being sold.
A favor to ask someone monitoring this thread... there was a Denver Post article on the 2020 proposed gun legislation (from 5 days ago), but my allotment of free articles has been used up, even after I disable my Ad Blocker, and I refuse to pay for a subscription to that rag...would someone please post the link and article here in this thread!
Last session’s red flag bill was the first piece of gun legislation passed in Colorado since 2013
Having passed the red flag gun bill last year, the state legislature cannot become complacent on the issue of gun violence, argues state Rep. Tom Sullivan.
“It should be something that we discuss on a regular basis,” said Sullivan, a Democrat from Aurora who championed the red flag bill, and whose son was murdered in the 2012 movie theater massacre. “You should see one or two of these types of bills being brought forward, year after year after year, so that collectively, after five or six bills, we’ve tightened things up.”
Sullivan knows how some will interpret that statement: as a declaration of war on the Second Amendment. He insists that safe, responsible gun owners have nothing to fear. He and other Democrats said similar things last legislative session, but the red flag bill subjected them to a backlash that included a failed effort to recall Sullivan.
Nevertheless, gun-related legislation will be introduced next session, Sullivan assured The Denver Post in an interview last week.
“It’s coming. It is. That’s why I’m here,” he said.
“I’ve made it clear to my colleagues that I will be standing up for this, and that I’m welcoming their participation as well. Many of them are joining me in starting to put together bill titles, in wanting to be involved.”
Sullivan has expressed interest in a number of policies, including one to require stores to safely store firearms after business hours, and another to require safe storage in homes. What, exactly, potential 2020 gun legislation will look like is not totally clear yet, Sullivan said.
But he added that it will likely include a bill requiring gun owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm, something roughly a dozen states currently do. House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, a Denver Democrat who joined Sullivan in sponsoring the red flag bill, sees a lost-and-stolen bill as a possible winning cause.
“It’s a great example of a bill that helps reduce gun violence, is promoting responsible gun ownership and, I would assume, would pick up the vast majority of the public support,” Garnett said. “So that seems pretty common-sense to me.”
Garnett is optimistic that a proposal like that will not generate the concern that the red flag bill did. That law will go into effect just seven days before the 2020 legislative session convenes in January, and sheriffs throughout Colorado have promised to oppose it — so the law likely will continue to attract attention at the Capitol for a while to come.
Both Garnett and Sullivan said passing gun legislation involves hurdles bills on other subjects don’t face because the topic is so sensitive.
A 2018 survey done by both Democratic-leaning and Republican-leading pollsters found 76% public support for a red flag bill, but the bill still received zero GOP votes, and a few Democrats, including Senate President Leroy Garcia, voted against it.
It speaks to the fierce partisanship guns inspire that Colorado convened a special committee in the wake of May’s STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting, and the committee produced no recommended gun bills. That a group of lawmakers called together specifically because of a mass shooting advanced no legislative proposals about guns was frustrating to Sullivan and Democratic members of the committee.
But committee member Paul Lundeen, a Republican state senator of Monument, took a different view.
“The school safety committee did a really good job of not becoming captive to the political winds, or the ideological statements, and actually doing the work to make better policy,” Lundeen said. “Let’s do more of that, and less of the political statements the likes of which Beto O’Rourke and Tom Sullivan might like to make.”
“When Tom Sullivan says that now is not the time to take the foot off the accelerator, that sets a tone,” he said.
After my request for someone to post this article this thread received several hundred views but no help...I was beginning to think I was posting for myself.
Robert, THANKS for taking the time to post the article here... it gives Colorado gun owners an idea of what we're going to face in the 2020 session.
Last session’s red flag bill was the first piece of gun legislation passed in Colorado since 2013
I still can't view the Denver Post website article so I am assuming that it is rep. Tom Sullivan who said this. The mindset behind this quote troubles me. Rather than taking the time to analyze a problem, understand its root causes and the impacts of various proposed legislated solutions, we have an example of a legislator who simply looks at a calendar year and says "yup, too many years since we passed any gun laws...so it's long past time that we start just passing gun control laws to make up for this oversight". He has the same mindset regarding gun control that most Democrats have towards budget bills..."it's time to throw some more money into the budget because we haven't spent enough".
January 01, 2020, 10:14 AM
Modern Day Savage
Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a good holiday season, had quiet time to spend with family and friends, and got plenty of chow!
The legislature convenes one week from today and, considering all the bad proposed legislation, we've got our work cut out for us.
Be sure you have contact info for your respective legislators. Fight's comin'...time to kit up.
Note: Colorado's Red Flag law went into effect today.
January 05, 2020, 09:43 AM
Modern Day Savage
Well that didn't take long.
[NOTE: I wasn't satisfied with the previously linked article and the errors contained in it or the way it was worded, and have linked to a different article]
[NOTE: video and hyperlink found at linked website article.]
POSTED 4:32 PM, JANUARY 3, 2020, BY ERIC RUBLE, UPDATED AT 09:29PM, JANUARY 3, 2020
DENVER -- The Denver Police Department has filed what is likely the first extreme risk protection order under the state's new "red flag" law.
Under the new law, which went into effect Jan. 1, any Colorado citizen can apply for an ERPO against a gun owner if the citizen feels the gun owner may be a threat to themselves or others.
A judge decides if someone initially meets the criteria to have his or her guns taken away. This first hearing will be conducted ex parte, without the gun owner present.
A judge can decide if the situation warrants the sheriff and his or her deputies moving in to take guns away immediately without the gun owner's knowledge and before a notice to appear in court can be given to the gun owner.
DPD says in this case, a judge granted a temporary filing. In 14 days, there will be a hearing to determine if a continuing order is necessary.
DPD says it filed the order against a man involved in a domestic violence situation and there were suicidal statements.
The man's name was not released.
The department says the man turned over his two firearms before the ERPO was filed.
“What we do know is, where there is a firearm involved, a victim is five times more likely to end up dead as a result,” Violence Free Colorado’s associate director Amy Pohl said.
Colorado has set aside funds to have attorneys on standby to represent gun owners in ERPO cases.
Attorney Claire McGuire Elster is just one Colorado attorney who has signed up to represent gun owners when an ERPO is filed.
"It's our job to make sure due process is held. Each individual respondent will be different, obviously, but I expect most clients will maintain their right to have firearms," McGuire Elster said during an interview in December.
Nicole Fierro contributed to this report.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Modern Day Savage,
January 11, 2020, 09:39 PM
Modern Day Savage
Realizing that individual city and county jurisdictions were going to implement individual policies to deal with the Red Flag law I was doing some research and came across a couple articles.
It appears the Colorado Springs Police Department will be using their Strategic Investigations Unit to serve the ERPO warrants, unless the circumstances dictate the use of the SWAT.
Please post any info you might come across regarding how the different law enforcement departments' policies and plans to enforce this new law.
[NOTE: video, picture, and hyperlink at linked website article]
By Zachary Aedo January 7, 2020 6:57 pm Published January 7, 2020 2:19 pm
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- After Colorado's first known case invoking the red flag law took place Friday in Denver, local law enforcement is discussing how the officials will execute the new law here in El Paso County.
A Denver Probate Court judge approved a hearing after a Denver Police Sergeant filed a temporary extreme risk protection order petition on Jan. 2.
Legislation allowing Extreme Risk Protection Orders took effect in Colorado on January 1, 2020. Family members or law enforcement may petition for an ERPO from a judge if they believe a person poses a significant risk to themselves or others by having a firearm.
If enough evidence warrants a judge to issue an ERPO, then the subject must surrender all of their firearms and their concealed carry permit to officials. No later than two weeks after the first order, a hearing is held by the judge to see if the ERPO continues.
If there's enough evidence that the subject still poses a significant risk, a judge may issue a continuing ERPO that allows law enforcement to retain the guns for another 364 days. The respondent also can't control, possess purchase or receive a firearm during that period.
We reached out to Lieutenant John Koch with the Colorado Springs Police Department for a better understanding on how they will carry out the new law.
ZACHARY: What would be sufficient evidence for a police officer to petition an ERPO?
KOCH: It’s really kind of difficult to just randomly generalize what that would be, but it could be someone that maybe is suffering a mental health crisis and that is in possession of firearms. If they pose a risk to themselves or a family member, that could be a situation where a law enforcement officer would petition.
Really what we look for is any type of situation where we may respond out on a call for service or are doing an investigation and we come across someone who does pose that risk to themselves or a family member and is in possession of firearms.
ZACHARY: How would CSPD officers carry out an ERPO?
KOCH: We’ll base how we do service and how we go about serving this protection order on a lot of different factors; the relative risk to police officers, to people in the homes, to the respondent in the protection order, any histories that we may have, any concerns that pop up.
This will be something that we assess on a case-by-case basis and determine the best way to serve that order and what resources are needed. But at a base level, the first starting point for us is with our Strategic Investigation Unit personnel.
We don’t start at “Hey, call the SWAT team.” We always start at the lowest level possible. That’s our goal in everything that we do. To have the most peaceful encounter we can with someone.
ZACHARY: Almost half of Colorado’s counties have declared themselves 2nd Amendment sanctuaries and several sheriffs have previously said they don’t agree with the law. Is this a political issue for CSPD?
KOCH: I can’t really talk about politics for CSPD. What I can tell you is that CSPD recognizes that the legislature passed a law and that it’s our job to enforce orders from the court that come our way. We intend to do that.
ZACHARY: At the end of the day, do you think this new law improve the safety in our community?
KOCH: There’s really no way for me to answer that because I’d be guessing into the future. I do think that it’s a tool for people that are potentially in bad situations to utilize.
We obviously encourage people that look at this law and look at what it allows. That if it’s something they feel could make them safer, to go through the appropriate process and the appropriate steps with the courts to determine if it's what works best for them.
Zachary Aedo Zach is a reporter for KRDO and Telemundo
January 11, 2020, 09:48 PM
Modern Day Savage
[NOTE: picture and hyperlinks at linked article website]
Posted: 3:14 PM, Jan 08, 2020 Updated: 4:47 AM, Jan 09, 2020 By: Joshua White
EL PASO COUNTY — The El Paso County Sheriff's Office has put out their stance when it comes to enforcing extreme risk protection orders under the so-called red flag law.
The law passed by the Colorado General Assembly in 2019 allows for law enforcement to confiscate weapons after they or family members petition the court for temporary removal of firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.
When speaking to News5's Andy Koen last year, Sheriff Bill Elder said he believed House Bill 1177 would stomp on the civil rights of Coloradoans. Since that conversation in May, the bill is now law.
Read more: Sheriff Elder explains opposition to the red flag bill
In part, the department saying it is their policy to respect and protect the constitutional rights of all those it serves, adding it will ensure the right of the people to be free from unreasonable search and seizures along with their right to receive due process of the law.
As a result, deputies will not petition for extreme risk protection orders unless exigent circumstances exist and probable cause can be established that a crime has taken place or is being committed.
If deputies in El Paso County have to serve enforce an order, they will fully explain the contents and requirements, as well as request respondents surrender any firearms along with a concealed handguns permit, if issued.
Deputies are authorized to seize any firearms in "plain view" or that fall under the language of the court order.
One of three options will be offered: they can sell their firearms to a licensed dealer, arrange for storage at the sheriff's office, or in the case of an antique or relic, the person can request a transfer to a relative they do not live with.
If probable cause and a signed search warrant do not exist, deputies will not conduct a search for firearms.
January 11, 2020, 11:49 PM
Modern Day Savage
I caught a radio interview with El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder this morning. EPSO released their policies regarding service of the ERPO orders (above article) and, initially, many of us were disappointed because the policy statement released seemed to back off somewhat from Sheriff Elder's previously stated position.
After listening to Sheriff Elder's comments I feel a bit better, but there is still a bit of ambiguity to deal with.
Sheriff Elder has consistently said that, should a properly issued ERPO order be signed, he believes he is legally required to serve the order, however, unless there is an accompanying properly issued search warrant, he doesn't plan to have his deputies search a location for firearms. He also has no plans to file for an ERPO order unless "unless exigent circumstances exist and probable cause can be established that a crime has taken place or is being committed." He was quick to point out that the clock begins when the first ex parte hearing concludes and so the quicker that he serves the ERPO order the more time a gun owning respondent has to act in their own best interest and defense. There is a time limit attached to a respondent's duty to file the required paper work with the court.
During an ERPO service his deputies will request the surrender of any firearms and CHP , and will "seize any firearms in plain view", but Sheriff Elder didn't expand on the rest of the statement "or that fall under the language of the court order".
During the interview he said that the law suit filed by RMGO is still in progress with no disposition. Sheriff Elder also said that he has been discussing the situation with the EPCO Commissioners and they are all committed to filing a law suit in opposition to the Red Flag law.
However, as the majority of residents live within the city rather than the county, his expectation is that the bulk of the ERPO orders will be served by the Colorado Springs Police Department. Essentially, they are waiting until he is forced to serve an ERPO order within the unincorporated county so that they have legal standing to file the law suit.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Modern Day Savage,
January 12, 2020, 01:02 AM
Modern Day Savage
During Sheriff Elders's interview he suggested that Colorado gun owners familiarize themselves with the Colorado Revised Statutes regarding issuance of search warrants.
Sheriff Elder also strongly suggested that all Colorado gun owners visit the Red Flag Resource Center website, which has vital information for respondents who are the subject of an ERPO.
In addition to a list of what to expect and what to do should a gun owner receive an ERPO the Red Flag Resource Center is requesting that any ERPO respondents contact them with the details of their case as they will be tracking Colorado ERPO cases watching for abuses of the Red Flag law.
(CBS4) – For the first time, a judge has denied a request to take away a man’s guns under Colorado’s new red flag law. A Limon woman claimed a man who she had a relationship with threatened her with a gun and filed the request.
Since the law took effect, the red flag law has had many gun owners seeing red. At least four requests have been filed since the first of 2020; CBS4 is aware of them being filed in Denver, in Larimer County and this one in Lincoln County.
Many gun owners, like Jak Gruenberg, despise it.
“Red flag laws just allow for harassment of legal gun owners,” he said.
The law allows guns to be taken away from those who present a danger to themselves or others. The decision is up to a judge.
CBS4 obtained the request for a temporary extreme risk protection order filed in Limon. A woman wrote she was getting “verbal and physical threats” with a handgun from the man identified in the order.
[Picture of petioner's hand written petition explanation for the ERPO request in the article.]
She said he had a problem with alcohol and marijuana. The judge denied the request to take his guns.
“I think it’s a good thing. I think any other new law you’re going to have a lot of case law to determine exactly where the lines are,” said Gruenberg, a gun owner not associated with the case.
Lincoln County is one of the many counties that has indicated it would not honor the red flag law.
But the denial led state Rep. Alec Garnett, a co-sponsor of the bill, to say this shows it is being applied properly.
Gun owners at Bristlecone Shooting, a range in Lakewood, told CBS4 they are split on that.
“I don’t think it’s going to be applied fairly. Anybody can say pretty much what they want about anybody else,” John Shearer told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
Rory Coyne, who bought his first gun over the weekend, had a different view.
“Well if a person is not right in the head they shouldn’t have a gun — if they re sick in the head,” he said.
The judge’s order explaining the denial of the woman’s red flag request was not made public at the time of CBS4’s request.
January 15, 2020, 06:53 AM
Modern Day Savage
First Colorado ERPO request filed against a law enforcement officer.
Given the supposed urgency for ERPO requests I find it interesting that it's taken a week from when the request was filed to the actual hearing date.
POSTED 6:11 PM, JANUARY 14, 2020, BY LORI JANE GLIHA, ERIC RUBLE AND ASHLEY MICHELS, UPDATED AT 09:25PM, JANUARY 14, 2020
LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- A woman has filed a petition and affidavit for an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) against the Colorado State University police officer who fatally shot her son in 2017.
The paperwork was filed Jan. 9. A judge will hear the case Thursday.
To file an ERPO, someone must meet certain conditions, such as living with or be related to the gun owner.
In the ERPO, under penalty of perjury, Susan Holmes claims she has a child in common with CSU police Officer Phillip Morris.
Holmes told the FOX31 Problems she planned to argue in court that she had a different interpretation of what “have a child in common” actually means.
Susan Holmes' son, Jeremy Holmes, 19, was killed during an encounter with Morris and another police officer on July 1, 2017. Holmes possessed a large hunting knife at the time and body camera footage shows he started running toward the officers with the weapon before they opened fire.
District Attorney Clifford Riedel found the shooting to be “clearly justified.”
In the ERPO, Holmes says Morris "used his firearm to recklessly and violently threaten and kill 19-year-old Jeremy Holmes."
The FOX31 Problem Solvers learned there are a total of five ERPOs filed in Colorado courts so far.
Two were filed in Denver County, two were filed in Larimer County and one was filed and denied in Lincoln County.
January 24, 2020, 02:00 AM
Modern Day Savage
I'd recommend contacting elected reps. and urging them to support these bills...also, as the reps. are in the minority and working within an 'adverse' environment, legislatively speaking, it couldn't hurt to thank them for their support in introducing these bills... an occasional pat on the back goes a long ways when doing a thankless job and we really do need these guys to stay the course and stay in the fight.
John Castillo, father of Highland Ranch student Kendrick Castillo who was killed in the STEM school shooting, testified before the legislature in favor of allowing Concealed Carry in Colorado schools, however both HB20-1040 and HB20-1099 were killed in committee along a party line vote.
February 19, 2020, 07:58 AM
MDS, Thanks for keeping us all up on this.
Loyalty Above All Else, Except Honor
February 23, 2020, 10:57 PM
Modern Day Savage
Originally posted by Storm: MDS, Thanks for keeping us all up on this.
Storm! I was growing concerned about you as I hadn't seen you post in this thread in a while. I hope you are doing well.
I'm happy to do what little I can...but unfortunately my time is limited and I can't spend the time that I would like to to stay on top of these important issues or do them the justice that they deserve. If I could find a way to generate a living and pay the bills while doing this I would stay on top of this issue 24/7/365.
February 23, 2020, 11:12 PM
Modern Day Savage
There has been a bill introduced to repeal the Red Flag law, amend the 72 hour mental health hold standard from "imminent danger" to "extreme risk", and goes on to define "extreme risk" as a credible and exigent threat of danger to self or others through actionable threats of violence or death as a result of a current mental health state.
The bill goes on to remove the Red Flag reporting mandate as well as removing it from the criteria used by Sheriffs when issuing CHPs.
The bill isn't very long and it might interest some to read.