The state of Colorado has recently followed many other states and has become the 15th state to pass a red flag gun law. These laws seek to remove guns from those deemed dangerous to self or others. This controversial law has caused waves across the entire nation as states determine whether to also adopt such policies or fight the laws as going against their second amendment rights.
Colorado is no different as the state finds itself in a state of division over these new measures. The state legislature failed to receive a single Republican vote in favor of the law, while gun activists work to recall Democrats who voted in support of the law. Sheriffs around the state levy heavy objections to the new policies. Some cite the belief that such measures will exacerbate the problem as those with mental health issues may avoid seeking life saving treatment in fear of retribution by the law and the subsequent loss of their firearm rights.
Many fight these measures explaining that heightened gun laws have done nothing to lower murder rates in cities that have implemented such measures. Others feel that the problem can not be fixed by merely removing a person’s guns as they will find other means of hurting self or others such as explosives, poisons, knives, car accidents, or even running people over.
Governor Jared Polis, Colorado’s new Democratic Governor is responsible for signing this law into action. Under this new policy any family member, household member, or member of law enforcement has the right to provide evidence to the courts that a person is a danger to self or others. If sufficient evidence is presented that the person more likely than not is dangerous the court may rule that the persons firearms must be seized or surrendered.
The debate continues as many feel the new law could lead to unfair accusations, as such a determination is to be made without a mental health professionals expert opinion after an evaluation.
The courts now hold the power to withhold a person’s guns for up to 364 days. If they are to have their rights restored, they must provide much evidence to prove they are not a danger.
The new laws beg the question if one is truly innocent until proven guilty under these new laws? The law assumes much into a person’s intent and ability to carry out an act of violence or suicide. The accused first loses their property and only then has the opportunity to report to the scheduled hearing within two weeks. Only then does a person receive the chance to defend themselves against a crime they have not even committed but face accusations for. These new policies raise continued ethical questions and cause many to wonder if their second amendment rights are slowly being taken away. Certainly, when a person has their rights automatically revoked on the mere word of another, many questions remain. Will simple revenge and lies become enough motive to take another’s rights away? Are we still innocent until proven guilty?