Colorado’s red flag gun law was used 73 times in its first 7 months. Here’s how the rollout has gone. |

Colorado’s red flag gun law was used 73 times in its first 7 months. Here’s how the rollout has gone.

Denver County saw the highest number of red flag cases at 25. El Paso and Jefferson counties were tied for second with eight cases each.

Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun
Multiple counties in Colorado have officially opposed the red flag gun bill.
File Photo

In the seven months after Colorado’s red flag gun law went into effect in January, allowing judges to order the temporary seizure of firearms from some people deemed a significant risk to themselves or others, there were 73 cases filed across 19 counties.

Proponents say the data, collected by the state’s court system, shows the policy is working exactly as it should and claim it’s the clearest indication yet that anxieties over rampant, improper usage of the law were overblown.

“It’s exactly what we thought was going to happen. It’s being used, in the cases that I know about, to protect people who are vulnerable,” said Colorado House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, one of the prime sponsors of the 2019 legislation that created the law.  “All of the fear tactics that the opposition used — (saying) that this was going to be used by scorned lovers and that cases were going to be all over the place and through the roof — aren’t coming to fruition.”

There has been at least one high-profile case of an attempt to misuse the new statute. 

Days after the law went into effect, a woman in Larimer County filed a petition seeking to have firearms seized from the Colorado State University police officer who fatally shot her teenage son in 2017. A judge denied her request, in part because she lied on the petition by claiming that she and the officer were family members because they shared a child together. 

(Family members, roommates and law enforcement are among the limited group of people who can file a petition seeking a gun-seizure order — called an extreme-risk protection order — under the red flag law.)

While opponents of the law pointed to the Larimer County situation as a prime example of how it could be misused, those in favor said it was a clear-cut example of the policy working exactly as it should since the case was quickly tossed out.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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