Douglas County commissioners rebuke red flag bill as governor signs it into law

Board calls for independent review of new law

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Not long after Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a controversial red flag bill, Douglas County commissioners released a video and statements rebuking the recently passed legislation and urging an independent review of the law to assess its constitutionality.

The commissioners previously adopted an ordinance that stated the county would only fund constitutional laws and questioned the bill's due process. The ordinance cites state law C.R.S. 27-65-127 as a sufficient substitute for the red flag bill. The board stopped short of calling their ordinance a “second amendment sanctuary” stance, although numerous other counties have declared themselves sanctuary counties.

The video released April 12 opens with the Douglas County logo beneath the words “Taking a stand for your constitutional rights.” It can be seen at www.douglas.co.us.

In it, Commissioner Abe Laydon states: “The issue for us is not whether those with mental illness who pose a risk should have their gun rights restricted. That is already a well-settled law that we support.”

What commissioners do question is the process for removing an individual's guns outlined in the red flag bill and whether that process is constitutional, Laydon said.

“What is not in question is our commitment and investment in public safety and improved mental health services for residents of Douglas County," Commissioner Lora Thomas said. "What also is not in question is our support of the Constitution of the Unites States of America and the State of Colorado. We cannot and will not stand by idly as your freedoms and liberties are threatened.”

Board Chairman Roger Partridge said the county will be working with other counties who want an independent legal review of the law to determine its constitutionality.

State Senate sponsors of H.B. 19-1177, also called the Extreme Risk Protection Order, released statements April 12, maintaining the bill will save lives.

“I am sick and tired of inaction when we see tragedies caused by gun violence,” Sen. Lois Court said. “I am absolutely sure this bill will save lives and I am proud that after years of working on similar legislation this was finally signed into law.”

The bill was named for fallen Deputy Zackari Parrish of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, who was shot and killed in 2017 while attempting to place a man on a mental health hold.

While commissioners decry the bill, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock has been a vocal advocate for the bill. He believes had it been in place before Parrish's death, the shooting may have been prevented. Spurlock has faced backlash for his support of the bill and urged commissioners not to adopt their ordinance denouncing it.

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