Red Flag ERPO Critic and CO Sheriff Gets ERPO’d AGAIN By Jail Inmate

Red Flag ERPO Critic and CO Sheriff Gets ERPO'd AGAIN By Jail Inmate

On Februrary 25,2020 one of Colorado’s most outspoken critics of Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, was red flagged using the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law – and it was an inmate who has been incarcerated in his jail since 2016 on serious drug trafficking charges who filed it – from jail.

That story was nuts.

And now it’s happened again, less than two months later.  Same inmate, new ERPO – from jail! 

According to a post on Reams’ Facebook page, on April 15, 2020 an Extreme Risk Protection Order petition was filed by inmate Leo Crespin against Sheriff Steve Reams, which is public record.  The inmate claims he falls under the law’s extremely broad definition of ‘household or family member’ by marking the box “I regularly reside or have resided with the respondent in the last 6 months”, citing that he lives in Reams’ jail.

In the body of the petition the inmate states that Sheriff Reams arms his S.O.G. officers with 12 gauge shotguns.  The Weld County jail S.O.G. (Special Operations Group) is responsible for maintaining order in situations involving enhanced security risk.  The “shotguns” they carry are actually devices that fire less-than-lethal projectiles and are only carried by the specialized team of officers.

The petition was immediately dismissed by district court Judge Vicente Vigil.

You can read the petition and the ruling in the images below, but it is along the same lines as the February ERPO that was filed.  Read all about that here.

 

 

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CO Governor Issues Exec Order Altering Concealed Carry Permit Requirements Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

CO Governor Issues Exec Order Altering Concealed Carry Permit Requirements Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Amid the recent widespread coronavirus meltdown, most counties in the state of Colorado have halted the issuing of new concealed handgun permits due to government agencies suspending all fingerprinting and other non-essential in-person contact in an effort to comply with public health directives. This included the required fingerprinting while issuing a new concealed handgun permit.

After several county sheriffs urged the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to put a temporary process in place to issue these permits, Colorado Governor Jared Polis included a section related to concealed handgun permits in Executive Order D-2020-029 which was issued on Monday, April 6, 2020. This section of the order alters the requirements to apply for and issue a concealed handgun permit under C.R.S. 18-12-205 by doing two things: suspending the in-person requirements, and eliminating the requirement that the sheriff must take two complete sets of an applicant’s fingerprints to submit to the CBI.  The order goes on to strongly encourage sheriffs to only issue a temporary emergency permit which would expire after 90 days as well as conduct a Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC)/National Crime Information Center (NCIC) check of each applicant. The governor is also encouraging sheriffs to revisit and reevaluate permits issued under this executive order once the health directives have been lifted.  It appears these are only suggestions and ultimately the process will be left up to the individual county sheriffs to determine on a community level.

Here is the related excerpt of Executive Order D-2020-029:

I.  I temporarily suspend the “in person” requirements related to the application and issuance of permits to carry concealed handguns (Concealed Handgun Permits) contained in C.R.S. §§ 18-12-205(2)(a), (2)(b), (3)(a), (3)(b), and (4)(a). I also temporarily suspend the requirement in C.R.S. § 18-12-205(4)(b) that a sheriff shall take two (2) complete sets of an applicant’s fingerprints to submit to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In assessing each Concealed Handgun Permit application, I strongly encourage sheriffs, in order to maintain safety through social distancing, to first consider issuance of a temporary emergency permit pursuant to C.R.S. § 18-12-209 (valid for an initial period of ninety (90) days) if appropriate, and second, to conduct a Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC)/National Crime Information Center (NCIC) check of each applicant to determine whether the applicant is eligible to possess a firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) before issuing a Concealed Handgun Permit. During the effective period of this Executive Order, sheriffs may issue Concealed Handgun Permits pursuant C.R.S. §§ 18- 12-206 or -209 upon completion of the requirements of C.R.S. § 18-12-205, as modified by this Executive Order. Upon expiration of this Executive Order, I strongly encourage sheriffs to revisit and reevaluate permits granted under this Executive Order for compliance with all of the mandates in C.R.S. § 18-12-205.

With record breaking gun sales in the past thirty days, the limitations of the permitting process for those wishing to obtain a new conceal carry permit has created barriers, and we believe the better deregulation would be an executive order allowing for constitutional carry (allowing for open or conceal carry without a permit). Currently Colorado law only allows for the open carry of a firearm without a permit while conceal carry requires one.

But another barrier that still exists, even with the latest executive order, is the training requirement under C.R.S. 18-12-203(1)(h).  This statute requires the applicant to submit a training certificate from a handgun training class they completed within the ten years prior.  Although the executive order does suspend the requirement to submit the certificate in person, it does not change any of the training requirements – which explicitly requires in-person contact and makes clear online-only courses do not suffice.

According to C.R.S. 18-12-202(5)(III) the training requirement states:

(III)  A firearms safety course or class that is offered and taught by a certified instructor.
(b)  Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection
(5), “handgun training class” does not include any firearms safety course that allows a person to complete the entire course:(I)  Via the internet or an electronic device; or
(II)  In any location other than the physical location where the certified instructor offers the course

This means that applicants MUST be in both close proximity to other individuals and at a place of business in order to obtain this training certificate, all while under the governor’s own stay-at-home order.

Although if the sheriffs are issuing Temporary Emergency Permits it does suspend the training requirement for 90 days.

Another slice of the governor’s most recent executive order is likely related to the backlog CBI is facing with the unprecedented amount of background checks on gun purchases that has created a wait time of several days.

This section of the order waives the requirement that CBI make a determination within 30 days on denied background checks when the transferree claims it was imporperly denied.  Although the order is only good until April 30th or until any extension is lifted, it’s unclear how long CBI would have after it’s lifted.

Here is the related excerpt:

K.  I temporarily suspend the requirement in C.R.S. § 24-33.5-424(5)(b)(II) that CBI render a
final administrative decision regarding the denial of a firearm transfer within thirty (30)
days after receiving information from the transferee that alleges the transfer was
improperly denied, to provide CBI with additional time to complete these duties in light
of the support they are providing to the State during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the
expectation that CBI will fulfill these duties as soon as practicable.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith has already put into place how his office plans to utilize the deregulation surrounding this executive order and concealed handgun permits.  According to a post on the Sheriff’s Facebook page, they do intend to run applicants through NCIC as well as complete fingerprinting once the health directives have been lifted.

If you would like to know how your county is handling this, please contact them and then report back to us.  We’ll keep on top of the situation.

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Colorado Legislature Introduces Mandatory Safe Gun Storage Bill

Colorado Legislature Introduces Mandatory Safe Gun Storage Bill

In a Facebook post, Colorado State Representative Monica Duran announced that she has introduce a “Safe Gun Storage” bill along with State Representative Kevin Mullica.  HB20-1355 Secure Storage of Firearms can be found here.

In Duran’s post, she states:

I am proud to be running Safe Gun Storage alongside Representative Mullica, being introduced today. Gun suicide claims the lives of 23,000 Americans annually, including 1,100 children and teens, making it a public health crisis in the U.S.

In over 80% of youth suicides involving a firearm, the gun belonged to a family member. Approximately 90% of suicide attempts involving a firearm end in death, compared to 4% for attempts not involving a firearm.

Every day, eight children are unintentionally shot or killed by a gun. A study found that households that locked both firearms and ammunition had an 85% lower risk of unintentional gun deaths compared to those who lock neither.

I look forward to improving public safety in our communities with this bill, and thank you to all of the advocates with Moms Demand Action who were able to join us today!

I am proud to be running Safe Gun Storage alongside Representative Mullica, being introduced today. Gun suicide claims…

Posted by State Representative Monica Duran on Friday, March 6, 2020


Constitutionality:

There are obviously some serious questions about what this law will look like and how bill sponsors plan to get around constitutionality.

Attorney Joseph Greenlee of Steamboat Springs has already written about this issue.  In a January 8, 2020 article for Complete Colorado he states:

“Safe storage” laws are unconstitutional because they prohibit immediate self-defense in the home. In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring that firearms be kept inoperable in the home, because it “makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.” A “safe storage” law is another “prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense,” and is unconstitutional for the same reason.

Moreover, the Supreme Court has placed strict limitations on the government’s ability to regulate private conduct within the home. For example, the sanctity of the home prevents government from criminalizing the in-home possession of obscene materials (Stanley v. Georgia), homosexual conduct within the home (Lawrence v. Texas), and the use of contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut).

Indeed, the Supreme Court has acknowledged that the Constitution provides “protection against all governmental invasions of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life.” How Americans decide to store their arms inside their homes is therefore layers of constitutional protection beyond the reach of government.

Suicide:

A glaring hypocritical statement Duran makes is in relation to suicide. According to the CDC, there were 725 firearm suicides nationwide in 2018 for children aged 17 and under, while for that same age group there were 923 suicides by hanging/suffocation.  Colorado’s teen suicide rate has increased by 58% in 3 years and not because of firearms.  In 2018 for ages 0-19 there were 95 total suicides in Colorado, 48 of those were by hanging and 47 were by all other means which include intentional overdose, firearm, and others.  Simply restricting access to firearms does nothing to address the suicide rate and will only push these teens toward other methods.  Until we get to the root cause of suicide, it will not stop.

That said, Colorado’s suicide rates matter and we should all care.  There are private organizations who already work with gun owners in crisis or who worry someone in their home may be in crisis.  Hold My Guns is a private group who is working to partner with FFL’s and police departments to offer a place people can store firearms during a crisis.  There are also multiple suicide prevention hotlines. And recently CU Anschutz unveiled an interactive map that shows out-of-home gun storage facilities for this exact reason.  WTTA.org also offers non-crisis support to gun owners.

And then there are the crisis lines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255, or chat online
Veterans Crisis Line:  Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online

Accidental Deaths:

Accidents are the result of negligence. Since 1993, gun-accident fatalities have fallen 74 percent. You’ll be hard pressed to find a metric the CDC is tracking that shows such a remarkable trend in the positive direction. For example, you’re fifteen times more likely to be killed as a pedestrian than you will because of a gun accident (2017: 7450 pedestrian vs 486 gun accident). And to make this fact even more remarkable, this reduction in gun accidents happened solely from within the gun community without any intervention from the CDC, the medical establishment, or law enforcement.

Gun owners—and by this I mean law-abiding gun owners since a non-law-abiding gun owner is by definition a criminal—have on their own recognized the need for enhanced gun safety, that alcohol and guns don’t mix, and the need for safe storage to prevent handling by children and to prevent theft. Years ago, safe storage was hiding your guns in the bedroom closet; today gun owners brag about their gun safes.

Don’t take my word for it as the John Hopkins School for Gun Policy and Research says that: “…gun owners who purchase a firearm legally, generally are even more law-abiding than your average person.”

There are also statutes within Colorado Child Abuse law that mandates consequences for parents whose children accidentally cause harm to themselves or others via firearms.

Enforcement:

Lastly, we will need to spend some time reading into the bill language to determine how they intend to enforce this law, as well as who will be required to own a gun safe.  Will it be every gun owner regardless of whether or not they have children?  That’s like saying every car sold must also include a car seat, regardless if the person purchasing the vehicle and car seat will ever need it.

In addition, we’ve already seen here in Colorado that storage doesn’t stop criminals.  The perpetrators in the 2018 STEM School shooting busted into a gun safe using a crow bar and an ax.  They then took the guns to the school where they were stopped by an armed security guard after killing one student.

An accompanying piece of legislation is also expected to be introduced: Mandatory Reporting of Lost and Stolen Guns.  We can already see how they intend to use these laws together.  If you leave your gun in your car while you go into a gun free area such as your child’s school, and it’s stolen, as soon as you report it you will be asked why it wasn’t being “safely stored”, and criminal charges will ensue.  This will only mean less people will report their guns stolen out of fear they will punished.  Punitive laws don’t work.

Stay tuned for more information as we get it, including when these bills will be scheduled for public testimony.  The easiest way to stay up to date is to subscribe to our email list and connect on social media.  Click here to get connected.

 

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CO Sheriff And Red Flag ERPO Critic Steve Reams Gets ERPO’d By Jail Inmate

CO Sheriff, Red Flag ERPO Critic, Steve Reams Gets ERPO'd By Jail Inmate : Rally For Our Rights

One of Colorado’s most outspoken critics of Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, has been red flagged using the new Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law – and it was an inmate who has been incarcerated in his jail since 2016 on serious drug trafficking charges who filed it – from jail.

On February 25, 2020 the inmate filed the petition. On the petition, which is public record, the inmate claims he falls under the law’s extremely broad definition of ‘household or family member’ by marking the box “I regularly reside or have resided with the respondent in the last 6 months”. I suppose there may be some validity to this, as he is housed in Sheriff Reams’ jail.

In the body of the petition the inmate states that “Sheriff Steve Reams is the rudder of the ship, and that ship being the S.O.G. who carry shotguns inside the jail”.  According to the inmate, these deputies carry these “deadly weapons 24 hours a day intimidating and threatening people for the most minor things, such as get on your bed.”  You can read the entire petition below.

The Weld County jail S.O.G. (Special Operations Group) is responsible for maintaining order in situations involving enhanced security risk.  The “shotguns” they carry are actually devices that fire less-than-lethal projectiles and are only carried by the specialized team of officers.

The petition was dismissed as soon as it landed on the desk of Judge James F. Hartmann, without allowing a temporary hearing where the petitioner would be present but the respondent would not be, and the case decided based on a preponderance of evidence.  The judge wrote an in depth statement as part of his dismissal order which in conclusion stated that the petitioner failed to provide any facts that either Sheriff Reams or his deputies were a “significant risk of causing personal injury to themselves or others in the immediate future” as is required by the law, and that the allegations made were not against any specific individual or Sheriff Reams himself, but instead were an attempt to prevent peace officers from carrying firearms within the jail.  The judge refused to address the threshold question of whether or not his residency inside the jail made him a qualifying petitioner.

In a radio interview with Peter Boyles of 710 KNUS today, Sheriff Reams said he found out about the petition when the dismissal order was emailed to him while he was out of town.  This is because according to the law the person being Red Flagged, the respondent, is not informed of the proceeding until AFTER the first hearing has taken place.

This is the second ERPO filed against a member of law enforcement since the Colorado law took effect January 1, 2020.  The first was filed on January 9, 2020 by Fort Collins resident, Susan Holmes, against a Colorado State University Police Officer who fatally shot her son in 2017.  Her son was carrying an 11 1/2″ bayonet hunting knife and had lunged at the officer before he was killed.  After a circus of a hearing, Holmes was charged with perjury for marking the box on her petition stating she was a ‘household or family member’ because her and the officer had a child in common.  It is far less clear if perjury charges in this new case filed against Reams would stick, as “residency” is not really defined within the scope of the law.

Weld County is one of Colorado’s ten largest counties with a large land mass and diverse demographic.

I myself hold law enforcement to high standards when it comes to excessive force, therefore I feel it should be noted Weld is one of only a few counties where the DA refuses to sign off on no-knock raids, and Sheriff Reams has a record of taking swift action in cases of excessive force.  In November 2019, two Weld County deputies were fired and one resigned after video surfaced of them using excessive force during an interrogation when the suspect refused to cooperate.  Two of them had been with the sheriff’s office for 15 years.  One of the deputies was charged with third degree assault.

Sheriff Reams has been sounding the alarm for over a year now on how Colorado’s poorly written Red Flag law can easily be abused and now he has lived it first hand.  He made international news when he told CNN he’d rather sit in his own jail in contempt than enforce an unconstitutional and dangerous Red Flag order.  Reams has been a great ally to us here at Rally for our Rights, even joining us on stage to speak against the Red Flag ERPO law at rallies as well as teaching seminars on the dangers of the law to gun owners and other concerned citizens.  He also helped lead the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement here in Colorado, of which more than half the state’s counties joined.

A burning question of mine that I’ve brought up many times: Why are these free to file?  Even a small filing fee would deter the most frivolous of cases.  Nothing else in the court system is free to file and even a Temporary Restraining Order is $97.

Proponents of Red Flag laws will undoubtedly point to this case as “working as it intended” since no one had their guns seized or their rights violated.  I would argue against that in several ways.  First, what an absolute waste of court time and taxpayer resources.  Second, how scary is it that these petitions are THIS easy to file?  And third, just as we saw in the Susan Holmes case, we’re again seeing how high profile individuals are naturally awarded protection from the abuses of the law.  If this had been an average citizen, unknown to the judge, and someone they had let crash on their couch for a couple weeks, we’d have a completely different story to tell.  And honestly, that is playing out in Colorado already.  This case is the eighteenth ERPO filed in less than two months and a repeal bill has been introduced into the Colorado State Legislature. That bill will get it’s first hearing on March 12, 2020.

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag Law, obtain attorney resources, and/or report if you’re Red Flagged, visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

 

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VIDEO: Leftist Protester Wants AK-47 To “Mow Down” Gun Rights Activists

VIDEO: Leftist Protester Wants AK-47 To "Mow Down" Gun Rights Activists

A group called “Longmont Leads With Love” has been protesting every Saturday in the same spot since Trump was elected in 2016.  This group of mostly baby boomers come together in a small commons area at 6th and Main in Longmont, CO.  Their message varies from week to week and person to person, but wanting more gun control is always part of it.  These protests are regularly attended by Longmont City Council members and the city of Longmont even passed a bizarre anti-gun resolution last year.

Recently a handful of Longmont residents decided they were tired of these protesters going unchallenged and started a counter-protest group they’ve coined as “Longmont Leads With Logic“.  So now, while the so-called “Love” group protests, you will find the “Logic” group on the opposite side of the street with signs, flags, and some even openly carrying firearms.

In an attempt to better understand what the “Love” group wants, people from the other side attempt to have conversations with them.  This exchange was caught on video.  A woman dressed in a Handmaid’s Tale costume, who was apparently protesting Trump’s boot on her neck, stated that if she had an AK-47, she’d mow down all the counter-protesters across the street.  Not very “loving” if you ask us.

WATCH!

 

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Bill Introduced To Repeal Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO Law

Bill Introduced To Repeal Colorado's Red Flag ERPO Law

Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law has only been in effect since the first of the year and a bill has already hit the state legislature to repeal it.  Introduced by Rep Lori Saine, Senator John Cooke and Senator Jim Smallwood, HB20-1271 Repeal Red Flag And Amend 72-hour Hold would effectively repeal the Extreme Risk Protection Order law while simultaneously changing the standard for a 72 hour involuntary hold.  It has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.  No hearing is scheduled yet but because every bill gets a public hearing in Colorado, sparks will surely fly when it does.

The changes to the 72 hour hold would replace the term “imminent” with “extreme risk” which is defined as “a credible and exigent threat of danger to themselves or others through actionable threats of violence or death as a result of current mental health state”.  This would give officers more leeway in who they can place in a hold and would remove the person from the crisis, rather than leave a person in crisis while removing one tool harm could be done with.

With the hyper-partisan make up of the state legislature, it is highly unlikely the bill will make it out of committee.  That said, it will give activists a megaphone to bring the Red Flag ERPO abuses we’ve already seen front and center.

The highly controversial Red Flag ERPO bill, HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders, passed through the Colorado legislature last year by one single vote and was then signed by Governor Jared Polis.  It had bi-partisan opposition. Every Republican and three Democrats voted against it.

Colorado’s ERPO law has been used eight times since it became law.

Three were in Denver…

The first ERPO was filed by a police officer requesting to keep guns that had been voluntarily handed over during a domestic dispute call where the respondent made suicidal statements. The respondent voluntarily agreed to the ERPO before a permanent hearing. We detailed that case here and detailed how an ERPO wasn’t even needed.

Another hit Denver soon after.  In this case, the Temporary ERPO was filed by the ex-father in law of the respondent.  Ex-father in law claimed respondent had made non-specific threats.  Temporary ERPO was granted and a permanent hearing was scheduled for Jan 23, 2020.  Respondent did not initially voluntarily surrender his firearms or file the necessary affidavit stating he had personally relinquished them according to what is required by law; this prompted further action from the court at which time the firearms and CCW permit were seized. Respondent is also going through a nasty custody battle which according to him is being financed by the ex-father in law.  The case documents include pages and pages of angry, but non-threatening text messages between ex-father in law, respondent, and ex-wife.  On Jan 23, the hearing was vacated for two reasons: 1) ex-father in law is not a qualified person to file petition; 2) witnesses were out of town.

The next day another ERPO was filed against the same man by the ex-wife, who is qualified person to file under the law. That permanent case will be heard Feb 5, 2020.

In Larimer County three have now been filed… 

The first was filed by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office on an inmate.  He was being held on two felony charges: Inciting Destruction of Life or Property and Retaliation Against a Witness or Victim.  The petition stated that the inmate did not own any guns, but while in jail he had told cell mates that when he gets out he “wants to kill 50 people”.   The ERPO was initiated in an effort to make him a prohibited buyer if he successfully bonded out.  We had lots of questions about this, as if he was released on bond, being a prohibited person is a condition of that bond.  After some back and forth with law enforcement and the CBI, it sounds like “it’s too much work” to get him into the CBI database via the bond route, therefore an ERPO was an easy band-aid to that broken piece of law. At the permanent hearing, an attorney for the inmate respondent argued for more time as she believed he may already be adjudicated mentally defective and a prohibited buyer.  The permanent hearing was rescheduled for March 5, 2020.

The second Larimer case was filed by 64 year old Susan Holmes against CSU Police Officer Phillip Morris.  Morris had shot and killed Holmes’ mentally unstable, knife wielding son in 2017.  Body cam footage clearly shows the shooting as justified, and the DA agreed.  On her petition, which she discussed in a YouTube video, Holmes stated that her and Morris had a child in common, a fact that made her a person qualified to file.  They do not have a child in common.  Holmes discovered a loophole in the ERPO law that allowed her to bypass the Temporary ERPO hearing which would have likely denied her at the door, and instead move right into a full permanent orders hearing.  That hearing was a circus and the Permanent ERPO was denied in the end.  The Larimer county DA then put out an arrest warrant for Holmes based on two charges: Perjury and Attempting to Influence a Public Servant.  After nearly two weeks on the run, Holmes was arrested.

And the third Larimer case was denied at the Temporary ERPO hearing, but it’s so absurd it’s worth pointing out.  This was our first case of legitimate family members: sister and brother.  The petitioner is the sister who is apparently allowing her brother to live with her temporarily.  The brother got very upset when someone moved his soap, and allegedly screamed at his sister and their father.  Sister felt physically threatened and claimed she had seen a gun in the past but wasn’t sure where it is now or if he still had it.  No other information besides the soap incident was provided.  The petition was denied.  Case closed.

Douglas County tried to do one too…

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office filed a temporary ERPO on an inmate in their jail.  The inmate was homeless and owned no guns, but had made suicidal statements while detained.  Similar to the thinking of Larimer ERPOing their inmate, this would have made him a prohibited buyer and unable to legally purchase a firearm when released.  At the Temporary ERPO hearing it was discovered he was already a prohibited buyer because he’d been Adjudicated Mentally Defective in the past.  ERPO denied, case closed.

And one in Lincoln County…

Another was filed in Lincoln County by a woman who claimed a man “whom she’d had relationship with” had made physical and verbal threats to her with a handgun.  She also claimed he used alcohol and marijuana. The judge denied the temporary petition but his reasoning was not made public.

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag Law, obtain attorney resources, and/or report if you’re Red Flagged, visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

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BREAKING: Colorado Mother Who ERPO Red Flagged Cop Who Shot Her Son Posted Her Petition Filing On YouTube

BREAKING: Colorado Mother Who ERPO Red Flagged Cop Who Shot Her Son Posted Her Petition Filing On YouTube

This article has been updated to reflect that the Temporary ERPO may not have been granted, but it was not denied and the case has moved forward to a permanent hearing.  The judge has signed off on the request for the respondent’s counsel among other things.

This sounds like it should be an Onion article, but sadly it is not.  This is the reality of how easily abused Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law has already been in the 14 days since it became law.

On January 9, 2020 a petition was filed by Susan Holmes against Phillip Morris.  The petition states that the two have a child in common (a factor that would make Susan a qualifying person to file the ERPO under the law’s broad definition of “family or household member”).  If she was not one of the people that fall into the nine categories of “family member”, she would have had to go to law enforcement to request they file on her behalf.

There is a complex history between a Susan Holmes and Phillip Morris in Fort Collins.  Phillip Morris is a CSU Police Officer who shot and killed Susan Holmes’ knife wielding son in 2017 and there is no evidence the two have ever had a child in common, as it appears they did not know each other prior to the 2017 incident described below.  It is also highly unlikely they have had a child since the incident given the nature of their relationship.  The petition cites “ongoing violence and aggression from 2013-2017” as evidence that Morris is a danger to himself or others and an ERPO is needed to ensure he is stripped of any firearms he may own or have access to.  It also states there is an ongoing lawsuit.  It should be noted 2013 is when Morris was hired by CSU Police.

The ERPO was moved forward by 8th Judicial District Chief Judge Stephen Howard.  He signed the request for appointed counsel for the respondent among other things.  A Permanent ERPO hearing will take place on January 16, 2020

You can read the entire story here.

What is even more shocking is that Susan Holmes actually posted her filing of the petition and a very long rant on YouTube!  She finishes off her ten minute video with “And this is why Colorado citizens should be allowed to file E.R.P.O.’s.”

Watch:

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag Law, obtain attorney resources, and/or report if you’re Red Flagged, visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

 

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Cop ERPO Red Flagged By Mother of Man He Killed In 2017 Colorado Police Shooting; Mother Claims They Have Child Together

Cop ERPO Red Flagged By Mother of Man He Killed In 2017 Colorado Police Shooting; Mother Claims They Have Child Together : Rally for our Rights


This article has been updated to reflect that the Temporary ERPO may not have been granted, but it was not denied and the case has moved forward to a permanent hearing.  The judge has signed off on the request for the respondent’s appointed counsel among other things.

Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO law went into effect January 1, 2020 and we’re already finding alarming cases that deserve attention.  A brand new Red Flag ERPO case out of Fort Collins, Colorado sheds light on exactly how easily this new law can and will be abused.

Here’s what we know:

On January 9, 2020 a petition was filed by Susan Holmes against a Phillip Morris.  The petition states that the two have a child in common (a factor that would make Susan a qualifying person to file the ERPO under the law’s broad definition of “family or household member”).  If she was not one of the people that fall into the nine categories of “family member”, she would have had to go to law enforcement to request they file on her behalf.

There is a complex history between a Susan Holmes and Phillip Morris in Fort Collins.  Phillip Morris is a CSU Police Officer who shot and killed Susan Holmes’ knife wielding son in 2017 and there is no evidence the two have ever had a child in common, as it appears they did not know each other prior to the 2017 incident described below.  It is also highly unlikely they have had a child since the incident given the nature of their relationship.  The petition cites “ongoing violence and aggression from 2013-2017” as evidence that Morris is a danger to himself or others and an ERPO is needed to ensure he is stripped of any firearms he may own or have access to.  It also states there is an ongoing lawsuit.  It should be noted 2013 is when Morris was hired by CSU Police.

The ERPO was moved forward by 8th Judicial District Chief Judge Stephen Howard.  He signed the request for appointed counsel among other things.  A Permanent ERPO hearing will take place on January 16, 2020

It is unclear if Morris has surrendered his weapons, was entered in the NICS and CBI databases, and is off duty, as would be required by the law if a temporary ERPO was granted.

There is a long history between Holmes and Morris, and it’s a complicated one.  

On July 1, 2017 Susan Holmes contacted police after her son, 19 year old Jeremy Holmes, left her home carrying an 11.25 inch bayonet knife and was talking about killing his brother who lived on the CSU campus.  Susan first attempted to contact the brother and his wife but was unsuccessful, so she turned to law enforcement.  During the call with police, Susan explained that her son was mentally ill.

CSU Police Officer Phillip Morris was the responding officer.

According to the Larimer County District Attorney and body camera footage, after Morris made contact, Jeremy Holmes began brandishing the knife.  Morris can be heard instructing Holmes to drop his knife, even as Holmes continued to walk toward him, forcing the police officer to back up more than 100 feet in about two minutes.  Morris told Holmes to drop the knife 36 times. In the video Holmes can be heard saying “kill me now” three times.

At this point, back-up Officer Erin Mast arrived and drew her weapon, also demanding that Holmes drop the knife.  As Morris reached to holster his gun and grab his Taser, Holmes charged toward him with the knife.  Mast shot Holmes twice, and Morris shot him four times.

Since the incident, Susan Holmes, mother of the deceased, has filed a civil lawsuit against CSU claiming lack of transparency surrounding the details of her son’s death, has run for city council, and campaigns to the point of instigation to change police practices that she believes led to the incident.

Now it appears she is asking to have Officer Phillip Morris’ weapons seized for at least 364 days, which is what would happen if the Permanent ERPO is granted.  Morris would have one opportunity to request the court lift the order during those 364 days, and at that time Susan Holmes would be alerted and have the opportunity to ask the judge to deny Morris’ request.  When the 364 days is up, again, before the order is lifted, Susan Holmes would be alerted and able to request the ERPO be put into place for another year.

And we must revisit the question that was brought up in the beginning – do these two really have a child together?  Is it really that easy for just anyone to file an ERPO petition?

We will be watching the permanent order closely and will provide an update.  More information can be found via a quick Larimer County Court Docket search.

37 counties across Colorado have declared Second Amendment Sanctuary status, but although Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith has been an outspoken critic of the new Red Flag ERPO law, Larimer County, where Fort Collins is located, isn’t one of them.  That said, even if they had declared 2A Sanctuary Status, that wouldn’t stop the orders from going through the court, nor would it stop enforcement actions within city limits unless the municipality has declared themselves a 2A Sanctuary city.  Fort Collins has not done that.

Links to sources and bodycam footage are provided throughout the article so people can draw their own opinions about the police shooting. This article is about the potentially malicious use of an ERPO.

UPDATE:  Susan Holmes has posted video of her petition on YouTube!  WATCH:

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag Law, obtain attorney resources, and/or report if you’re Red Flagged, visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

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What We Know About Colorado’s First Red Flag ERPO Case

What We Know About Colorado's First Red Flag ERPO Case : Rally for our Rights

Colorado’s Red Flag Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO law just went into effect on January 1, 2020.  Today the news broke to the public that the first case had been successfully filed and granted.  Sadly, it’s not unlikely the person being ERPO’d also heard about the ERPO against them for the first time on the local news along with the public.  That is because the person being accused is not awarded the opportunity to defend themselves at the first hearing, nor are they even aware of it.

Here’s what we know about this unique first case:

  • Police made contact with a 26 year old man at a SW Denver gas station on December 29. 2019.  PD allege he had a cut over his eye, and during a pat down search they discovered he had a loaded 9mm Glock in his waistband.
  • The man said the cut was from falling down and the gun was because he wanted to “off himself” after an argument with his wife and her sister. PD also allege he was visibly intoxicated.
  • The man later told PD that the cut was actually from his wife, who had hit him in the face with a bottle.
  • PD took the man in on a mental health hold due to his suicidal statement.
  • The firearm was seized and logged into Denver Police Property.
  • When PD spoke with the wife, she was also visibly intoxicated and admitted to throwing the bottle at her husband.  She was booked on 2nd degree assault charges. Her story later changed and she claimed her husband has perpetrated the abuse and that he had pointed his gun at her while making threats.
  • At the request of PD, the man voluntarily surrendered another firearm while the domestic violence investigation took place. That firearm was a .45 caliber Springfield.
  • It is also alleged the man told police it was a “good thing they stopped him because he was contemplating doing something bad”.
  • On January 2, 2020, the Denver District Attorney’s Office declined formal charges on both parties in regards to the domestic violence allegations.

This is where the ERPO comes in:

Because no domestic violence charges were filed, the firearms needed to be returned to the owner.  Instead of returning the firearms, the police officer chose to request to continue to hold them through an Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO citing that the individual may still be suicidal.

So, now we have a potentially suicidal individual, who may or may not also be a victim of domestic violence (or perpetrator), and the police feel they have “done something” by withholding firearms –while leaving the person in crisis with many other tools.  Possibly two people in crisis.  

Considering this man voluntarily gave up his guns prior to the ERPO and allegedly told the police officer that he was worried he would have harmed himself if he had not, a private solution would be a great option.  Imagine if this police officer visited suicide prevention organization Hold My Guns (www.holdmyguns.org) and helped arrange a FFL who would store his firearms until he felt he was in a better place. No courts, no judges, no rights being infringed – just help and compassion.

What will happen now?

On January 16, 2020 the man will go to court where he will have an opportunity to defend himself and request his firearms be returned.  The police officer who filed the ERPO petition will also be there to present his case, or he could submit sworn affidavits if unable to attend in person.  At that hearing, the judge will make a decision whether or not the accusations are true.  This decision will be based on clear and convincing evidence, whereas at the first hearing the decision was based on a preponderance of evidence (meaning one side had more convincing evidence, even though only one side was present).

The man who has been ERPO’d can either retain a private attorney, represent himself, or request the court appoint one. Because this is a civil, not criminal, proceeding, public defenders are not used, but instead attorneys who have volunteered to work these cases for state pay will be called upon.

At the January 16 hearing, the order will either be dismissed or made permanent.  If made permanent it will go into effect for 364 days.  The person who has been ERPO’d will have one opportunity to ask the courts to lift it during that time.  If he was to make that request, the police officer would be alerted and could ask it remain in place.  At the end of the 364 days the police officer will also be alerted that it is going to expire and could request the ERPO be renewed for another year.

To learn more about Colorado’s Red Flag law, get attorney resources, and more visit www.redflagresourcecenter.com.

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California: 21 Shot, 11 Fatally, and 1 School Bomb Attempt During Week of Widespread Violence

The state with the most strict gun control in the nation, California, is giving Chicago a run for their money.  In the past seven days, they have seen three horrific shootings taking 11 lives and injuring 21 as well as a school bombing attempt that was foiled by the groundskeeper.

On Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 a 16 year old boy used a .45 semi-automatic handgun to open fire at his Santa Clarita, CA high school.  He murdered two students and wounded three others before taking his own life. The shooter’s father had died in 2016 and had a history of domestic violence in the home prior to his death.  It has been reported that at one time law enforcement legally confiscated six firearms from the father based on their ability to track the serial numbers to him through California’s “this-is-not-a-registry” program.  It is now being reported that the firearm used in the school shooting was a privately manufactured firearm that did not have a serial number. It is not known where he obtained it.

Another horrific incident took place in San Diego, CA on Saturday, Nov 16, 2019.  During this massacre, a father used a handgun to kill his wife, three of their children, and then himself.  Another child survived and was last reported to be in critical condition. In this tragic incident, the mother had filed for a restraining order just days before but it is unclear if it was ever served, although a restraining order is nothing more than a piece of paper.

Only one day later in Fresno, CA on Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 a family was gathered in a backyard watching a football game when two unknown suspects entered the yard through the back fence and opened fire in to the group.  Four people were killed and six others wounded.  It is reported that the family was part of the Hmong community, and possibly the attack was related to a violent Hmong gang.  The perpetrators are still at large.

To finish off the violent week, on Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 a homemade bomb was found and defused at a San Jose, CA high school.  A groundskeeper found the device in the bushes right next to the school.  The school was placed in lockdown, administrative offices were evacuated, and a bomb squad was called in.  After some time the bomb was rendered safe and evacuations of the entire campus began.  Bomb dogs were brought in and area was cleared.  There are no suspects at this time.

Wow, what a terrible week for a state who continues to add more gun control laws on top of more gun control laws.  A state that has had a “Red Flag” law in place since 2014 and just recently passed legislation making that particular law so extreme even the ACLU opposed it.  In fact, California just added seven new anti-gun laws to their already extensive roster.

These atrocities are not supposed to happen in California.  They have “the laws”, ya know!  

As expected, national gun control advocates are already screaming for an assault weapons ban and expanded background checks because of the incidents I listed above.  Never mind California requires background checks on everything right down to ammo.  And each of these incidents used handguns, not so-called “assault weapons”, well, except for the homemade bomb.

Although honestly, I think this week of violence tells a much more important story, one that gun rights activists such as myself have been trying to help people understand.  Until we get to the root of the violence, it will not stop.  

And it’s even bigger than that.  Lawmakers need to stop grouping together violent crimes under the umbrella of “gun violence” or “mass shootings”.  It does a disservice to the victims.  It derails meaningful conversation and real solution seeking.

Let’s look at school shootings for example.  When will we start asking the hard questions about what is happening in schools that makes these children want to execute their classmates and teachers?  Why have suicide rates among children, teens, and young adults skyrocketed?  Why are our children choosing death?  These are questions those seeking gun control don’t ask.  They can’t, because it distracts from their heartless goal of disarming citizens.  When I talk with gun grabbers or law makers pushing for more gun control, I often start with the premise that we all agree on the problem, and I mean that.  The problem: school shootings are horrific and heartbreaking and we want to see them end.  We just disagree on the solutions.  The fact that we now have to worry about homemade bombs showing up at schools is a example of why it’s so critical we get to the root cause rather than simply making laws requiring the locking up of guns (which hasn’t stopped school shooters in the past) or making Red Flag laws that clearly have done nothing to prevent tragedy in California.

What about domestic violence?  The motives behind domestic violence murder and murder-suicide are extremely different than school shootings, or public mass shootings, or gang or drug related shootings.  Once again, grouping them in some ambiguous term called “gun violence” and assuming just another gun control law will help is downright dangerous.  Domestic violence is incredibly tricky because the victims are often afraid to leave, and when they do, they are sometimes in extreme danger.  This is why many victims have chosen firearm ownership and training when deciding to leave.  But it also poses yet another potential dangerous aspect to poorly written Red Flag laws because domestic violence perpetrators can actually use these laws to disarm their victims.

As for gang related shootings, tackling this epidemic is troubling as these people thrive on crime. No law will stop them. And again the solution to gang violence is very different than the solution to school shootings or domestic violence.

So, let’s start talking about solutions.  What do you think the solutions are?  Leave them in the comments. 

 

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