Colorado sheriff vows to go to jail rather than enforce a proposed unconstitutional ‘red flag’ gun law

[sharenow]

Still another county sheriff is deeply gouging a line in the sand, pledging to protect and serve the people who elected him by defending their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Sheriff Steve Reams of Weld County, Colorado, has declared that he will go to jail if it comes to that rather than enforce a Red Flag gun law that is moving through the state’s legislature.

Red Flag gun laws are controversial but often garner bipartisan support. On the surface, they are promoted as being about taking guns out of the hands of dangerous, mentally ill people–a reasonable political position for many pliable politicians. However, Red Flag laws in practice are necessarily vague about protecting civil liberties.

These laws are practically designed to mobilize a rapid police response to a single citizen’s complaint about an individual with the aim of removing guns from that person’s possession, “just in case” he or she has the potential to pose a danger to himself or others.

Sheriff Reams joins a lengthening line of law enforcement officers from around the nation who are taking similar stands. “It’s a matter of doing what’s right,” he said. “I’ve explained time and time again … I’m not bluffing.”

More than half the counties in Colorado oppose the bill, and 32 of them have declared their boundaries to delineate Second Amendment sanctuaries.

The U.S. Constitution is the bedrock foundation of American laws and liberties. The Second Amendment to the Constitution essentially gives citizens the power to enforce the provisions of the Constitution and to defend themselves from tyranny. Within the Second Amendment itself the original framers wisely emphasized that “it shall not be infringed.”

Red Flag gun laws open a huge door to misuse and abuse by not only the government but also by political or personal opponents … possibly as the result of nothing more than anger or malice.

Colorado’s “Extreme Risk Protection Order” bill allows a family member, roommate, or law enforcement to petition a judge to remove someone’s firearms. The process takes place via an ex-parte hearing in which the gun owner would not have an opportunity to defend or challenge the claims made against them or to even be notified of the proceedings.

So this not only is a Second Amendment issue but obviously also an infringement of the Fifth Amendment–the right to due process of law.

David Kopel is a constitutional law expert who has done extensive research into gun laws. He noted that he has reservations about the Colorado bill and other similar laws because of the amount of influence being exerted on lawmakers by outside influences. “The gun-ban lobbies are getting more and more extreme and aggressive,” he said.

He also pointed out that when such a law is implemented, it would be easy to envision someone misusing the law to disarm a person they intend to violently target.

Colorado’s state Senate passed the bill Thursday by a single vote, without any Republican support. With a Democrat majority in the House, it is expected to pass there and be passed on to the Democrat Governor Jared Polis in short order.

El Paso County has already indicated that it intends to file a legal challenge to the law as soon as it is passed.

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[sharenow]
Victor Rantala

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