DENVER – A bill that would allow judges to seize guns and ammunition away from people deemed to be in midst of a mental health crisis passed the Democratic-controlled House Friday night with very little Republican support.
House Bill 1436, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, passed the House by a 37-23 vote. Among those voting “aye” were two Republicans.
The so-called “red flag” bill still has to go through the Republican-led Senate, where chances of it passing appear dim. And a procedural delay held up the bill's passage to the Senate, though Sen. Steve Fenberg said Monday morning the bill would "likely" be heard in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Monday morning after the full Senate adjourns.
The bill would allow the temporary order from the judge to stay in place for seven days, during which the person can petition to have their weapons returned.
The amendments added in a House committee earlier this week stripped out language that would have upped the charge for a person carrying a firearm that would be prohibited by the extreme protection risk order laid out under the bill to a class 6 felony for their third or subsequent conviction on violating the order.
Another amendment stripped out language regarding a potential appropriation to cover increased prison sentences stemming from the law.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and some Republicans have said the proposal is more of a gun bill and less of a mental health bill, as the bill’s proponents and state sheriffs and police organizations have said – in support of the measure.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock has been a vocal proponent of the bill, saying he believes it would have saved the life of Deputy Zackari Parrish, who was shot and killed by a man with known mental health issues and a history of owning weapons on New Year’s Eve.
Under the bill, Colorado would become the ninth state to adopt a “red flag” law. At least 28 other states across the U.S. are considering these same types of laws, according to Dean Toda, the communications director for the Colorado House Democrats.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to show that a procedural hurdle delayed House passage until Monday.