A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO’s Red Flag ERPO Law Will Only Exacerbate A Crisis

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A Crisis

“Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO laws are picking up steam across the nation.  Some states have had them in place for many years, such as Connecticut who implemented theirs in 1999, or Indiana who crafted their law in 2005, and California jumped on the bandwagon in 2014.  I’ve written about how ineffective they have been in those states. But the past two years, other states are quickly following suit, including Colorado who passed one of the most egregious laws this past spring.  It will go into effect January 1, 2020.

Across the county, these laws are being touted as “suicide prevention” by anti-gun groups such as Everytown For Gun Safety and their grassroots arm, Moms Demand Action. Now, these groups have been known to tell half truths, mislead, and fear monger, but their claim that Colorado’s Red Flag law will reduce suicide is one of the most upsetting lies I have heard them tell.  That’s because suicide is very near and dear to my heart.  My sister committed suicide 4 1/2 years ago.

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A CrisisMy sister was my best friend.  She lived one town over, she was the mother to three, and our oldest daughters were born 5 weeks apart.  Her suicide rocked my world, and I still shed tears when I think about it.  I have her name with a semi-colon tattooed on my arm, my only tattoo.  I will never forget the night my mother and my sister came to my home to tell me she was gone, knowing I’d take it harder than anyone else. At first I was in denial as I insisted that she must just be in the hospital, and I needed to get to her. Once past denial, I needed to know where her body was. I got on the phone and desperately started calling people until I connected with the coroner.  Her body was in the morgue at a local hospital.  I so desperately wanted to be with it. I couldn’t imagine my sister alone in a cold morgue, awaiting autopsy. The next morning was when reality struck. The physical pain I felt in my heart when I awoke was something I had never experienced before and haven’t experience since. Watching her children mourn was heartwrenching. For them everything changed the day she made the choice to take her life.  The trajectory of their lives took a sharp, ugly turn.  I would do anything to be able to go back and help her that day. But I can’t.

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A CrisisMy sister didn’t use a firearm to take her life, although she was a gun rights supporting liberal.  She used a bottle of pain pills that had been prescribed to her by her doctor.

The claims that Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law will help those in a suicidal crisis is disingenuous at best and dangerous at worst.  You see, Colorado’s law has no mental health component to it.  In fact, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has testified to that many times, pointing out that the legislation asks law enforcement to enter the home of a suicidal individual who owns firearms (forcibly if necessary), confiscate those firearms, and leave both the person in crisis and many other tools to follow through with the act of taking their own life.

This is not compassion. This is not empathetic.  This is cruel.

There is also strong evidence that when responding to one of these suicidal ERPO’s, law enforcement will arrive with a SWAT team, not only exacerbating the crisis, but escalating it to the point of no return.  Early this year, one of our supporters, Ralph Shnelvar, took his own life.  He was going through a rough separation and his wife had reported to the police that he was suicidal and had a firearm.  Ralph sent worrisome emails to his close friends, who immediately went to his residence to try to offer help.  When they arrived, what they found instead was a large police presence and SWAT officers who spent several hours outside the home trying to get Ralph to come out of the residence.  Friends and family were blocked from talking to him. Eventually two police robots were sent inside the home where they found Ralph dead.  No one can tell me that SWAT did not exacerbate that entire situation, possibly causing and/or expediting the ultimate tragic death.

One of Ralph’s friends testified about this situation in front of a State Senate Committee during the “Red Flag” debate in March. Watch that video below.

This is what Colorado’s “Red Flag” law will look like.  SWAT teams going after those who are in crisis, or those who are innocent, another danger we’re facing as the legislation is so poorly written.  Here in Colorado a Tinder date turned stalker can petition the courts over the phone free of charge to have someone’s guns confiscated, and the judge who determines if they should do it, will base it off the lowest evidentiary threshold, a preponderance, meaning there only needs to be a 51% chance the accusations are true. Preponderance only requires more evidence than counter evidence, so given that the respondent is not able to respond until after the seizure of the guns no one will ever lose on that standard.

Let’s also talk about the fear these Red Flag laws will create for gun owners, especially veterans.  If we fear that reaching out for help will result in SWAT showing up at our house, those who need help will will stay silent, again only increasing suicides, instead of reducing them. We cannot stigmatize asking for help, just as we cannot stigmatize being a gun owner.

What can we do?

Gun owners are compassionate and caring, it’s often why they choose to train and carry in the first place.  Because they love their communities.  So we should be asking the question what can WE do? Unfortunately there are not a ton of gun owner specific suicide resources, which is unfortunate because it’s desperately needed.  But if you are a firearm owner and are suicidal – or someone else in your home is suicidal – there are options.  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
Have other resources I should add?  Drop them in comments.  And please know, you can always reach out to your friends at Rally for our Rights, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We’re here for you.  Contact us here

 

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Longmont, CO Wants to Register Their Gun Owners, Mandate Smart Tech Gun Locks

Longmont City Council Meeting On Extreme "Gun Safety Resolution"

In a Gun Safety Resolution so extreme it puts Boulder, CO’s so-called “assault weapons” ban to shame, Longmont, CO city council is asking federal and state elected officials to implement laws such as gun registration and requiring gun locks so advanced the technology barely even exists yet, among many other things.

On Tuesday, Councilman Tim Waters presented the resolution.  It was voted 5-2 to advance to the next step – deliberation and a final vote which will take place on Tuesday, Sept 10 at 7pm during the weekly city council meeting.  If approved, Mayor Brian Bagley would have to forward this resolution to state and federal elected officials conveying that these are the laws city council believes Longmont’s law abiding gun owners should have to abide by.  It should be noted, Mayor Bagley was one of the NO votes to move the resolution forward, along with Councilwoman Bonnie Finley.

Here is what the resolution calls for: 

1.) Required state issued permits for gun ownership.
2.) Universal background checks on all sales, including the private sale of firearms*.
3.) State issued permits for concealed carry*.
4.) State issued permits for concealed carry within a vehicle*.
5.)  Banning the personal sale or purchase of military grade weapons by non-military personnel.
6.) Limits on magazine capacity*.
7.) Required gun locks that enable only permitted gun owners to fire a weapon.
8.) Prohibitions of gun ownership by convicted felons and individuals convicted of domestic abuse.
9.) Red flagging individuals who have given family members and/or law enforcement reasons for concern about their mental and emotional stability*.

(Read the PDF of the resolution distributed by Councilman Tim waters on Tuesday here.)

According to Councilman Waters, the asterisk denotes laws that already exist in Colorado, although it’s unclear what he means by #4: State issued permits for conceal carry within vehicle.  Is he suggesting Colorado has a separate permit that allows individuals to carry a firearm within their vehicle or is he simply denoting it’s an extension of #3?  Just to be clear, there is no separate law requiring a permit to carry within a vehicle in Colorado.

The others with an asterisk are accurate – #2, #6 and #9.  In 2013 Colorado passed expanded background checks as well as restricted magazine capacity to 15 rounds, although it’s done nothing to curb gun deaths (homicides and suicide combined), and in fact, gun deaths have been rising at an alarming rate in the state since those laws were enacted. You could almost make the case that it’s had the opposite effect of what was intended.  And as for #9, Colorado’s “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO legislation was signed into law this past April, but the law will not go into effect until January 1, 2020.  I’ve also pointed out that Red Flag laws don’t work in other states that have them, such as Indiana where suicide rates are skyrocketing and they’ve had a Red Flag law since 2005, or California where there has been a public mass shooting yearly since they enacted their Red Flag law in 2014, and Sandy Hook happened in Connecticut after they enacted their Red Flag law in 1999.

But now let’s take a good look at the other laws the resolution calls for…

#1: State issued permits for gun ownership.  This is a gun owner registry plain and simple.  A registry required based off an irrational fear of property we own. Which class of people will Longmont suggest we register next based off an irrational fear? Muslims? Jews? The bigotry of the council is astounding. And how much will it cost to register? Are they also discriminating against poor people who can’t afford to register? Oh, and we all know exactly who will NOT register – criminals. In addition, talk of a registry always begs the question of how it will stop evil people from committing evil acts?  Would someone who wishes to do harm with a firearm not do so because they’ve “registered”, suddenly instilling morals and a sense of right from wrong into the individual? Absolutely not.

#5: Banning the personal sale or purchase of military grade weapons by non-military personnel.  What does this even mean? If they’re referring to banning access to firearms such as AR-15’s or AK-47’s that civilians can legally purchase from a gun store in the United States, it certainly wouldn’t be included under #5 as those firearms are not used by military.  Maybe they mean they want to eliminate the ability for civilians to spend $30k and purchase a full auto through the NFA?  Considering the latter is still legal in Boulder where they banned “assault weapons” in 2018, it’s more likely that Councilman Tim Waters has no idea what he is even talking about, but still supports sending men with “weapons of war” to confiscate “weapons of war” from people who have done absolutely nothing wrong.  I bet he claims to be against police brutality too, even though he’d support police enforcing his ban up and to the point of brutal force.

#7: Required gun locks that enable only permitted gun owners to fire a weapon.  Now we’re not just talking about access to firearms via a smart technology safe, but the actual requirement that the gun cannot be fired unless by the registered gun owner.  This kind of smart technology barely exists, and what does exist is incredibly expensive.  For example, German firearms manufacturer Armatix LLC manufactures RFID enabled guns that are only activated by those with an authorized watch. But the pricetag is through the roof at $1800 for it’s most basic .22 caliber iP1 pistol.  So again, we’re talking about laws that limit access to self defense only to those who can afford it, blatant discrimination against the poor.  The technology also doesn’t come without flaws, and dangerous ones at that.  Even though the manufacturer says the bracelet must be within 1 foot of the firearm to function, multiple videos have proven that all it takes to bypass the safety block is a simple magnet held next to the firearm, rendering it an overpriced and awkward .22 handgun.  Plus RFID jammers are easy to make, creating a whole new black market where stalkers and rapists can obtain the means to deactivate a potential victim’s instrument of self defense.

#8: Prohibitions of gun ownership by convicted felons and individuals convicted of domestic abuse.  This is already federal law, with felons and domestic abusers being entered into the NICS database, prohibiting the legal purchase of a firearm, and it’s simply illegal for them to own one.

If there is one word that comes to mind after reading this, it’s privilege.  This is what privilege looks like.  Councilman Waters, along with council members Marcia Martin, Polly Christiansen, Aren Rodriguez, and Joan Peck who joined him in his support of this resolution, are so privileged they don’t understand why someone could possibly ever need to defend themselves.  And those who are underprivileged and live in poverty would have their right to self defense stripped of them, even though statistics show people living in households in the US that have an income level below the Federal poverty threshold have more than double the rates of violent victimization compared to individuals in high-income households.  And because the poverty rate of African Americans is almost double of that of Caucasians, you could almost call Councilman Waters proposals white privilege. I mean, he must believe only rich white people should be allowed to defended themselves, right?

Now, some may say resolutions are worthless; simply a statement with no teeth.  I don’t see it that way.  What I see is a city council who will be voting September 10th on whether or not they believe these laws should be forced upon the 94,000 people in their city. And if their vote is yes, what’s to stop them from doing an ordinance next?

Please speak up, especially if you are a Longmont resident.  You can email the entire council at once at: [email protected] and telephone numbers can be found here.  Attend the next city council meeting:  Sept 10th at 7pm, Civic Center 350 Kimbark St. Longmont, CO 80501.  If you are comfortable doing so, come with a 3 minute prepared speech to give during public comment (it’s easy). If you don’t want to speak, please still come and offer support to others.  Questions?  Contact us.

 

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School Backpedals After CO Teen Was Banned From Classes For Shooting Guns With Mother

School Backpedals After CO Teen Was Banned For Shooting Guns With Mother Even After Police Cleared Him : Rally for our Rights

In a follow up to the story we broke yesterday of a Loveland, Colorado teen who was banned from classes after he posted videos of himself shooting guns with his mother on Snapchat, the student has now been cleared to go back to class and the school is backpedaling.

Here’s a recap of what happened: Justine Myers took her son, Nate, shooting earlier this week. When they returned home they discovered the police were attempting to contact them.  Nate had posted two videos on Snapchat; one video had the firearms they were going to use with the caption “Finna be lit” (which is teenage slang for “going to be a great time”), and the other was a video of him shooting while his mother instructed him. Someone had seen these videos and reported him to police via the school’s Safe 2 Tell system which allows anonymous tips to law enforcement and the school.  The police spoke with Nate and his parents, watched the videos, determined Nate was not a threat to himself or others nor had he made any threats, and they were well within their legal rights. They then went on their way. But that wasn’t good enough for the school.  The following morning a voicemail was received from Thompson Valley School District stating that Nate could not go to school and was banned indefinitely until a “threat assessment” hearing was completed. The school also refused to provide Nate with school work to prevent him from falling behind. When Justine explained the situation and stated the police had already assessed it and cleared him, her words were hastily dismissed by school officials.

After this story broke fellow parents, community members, and even elected officials contacted school admin and district board members to express their disapproval of this blatant violation of the student’s civil liberties, as well as the complete disregard for parental rights.  And it undoubtedly had an effect.

The threat assessment hearing took place this morning and Nate has been cleared to return to class. The school officials came prepared with a packet of his homework, and stated they believed him to be a good kid and never thought he was making threats against the school.  They acknowledged that his classmates may now react differently to him (I mean, he’s practically been accused of being the next school shooter, right?) and offered to make sure no one gave him trouble. The SRO who was present agreed that the Safe 2 Tell system is sometimes used inappropriately by students wishing to anonymously seek revenge on another student.  School officials also cautioned Nate to not post these types of activities on social media.  Justine quickly reminded them that this is his First Amendment they’re talking about, and although she gets their point, that is a dangerous slope they’re heading down.

When Justine questioned why any of this had to happen in the first place since the police had already assessed the situation, she was told the school hadn’t received the police assessment until the following afternoon, nearly 20 hours later.  Now here’s where I call BS.  If there is a report of a threat that is deemed credible enough to warrant police investigation to a student’s home on a weekday evening, the results of such investigation would have been relayed immediately to the school to determine if the school was safe to open the following day.  And if that police assessment wasn’t immediately relayed, that school has far bigger security issues than any parent even realizes.

Everyone bent over backwards to try to right the situation, but no one went so far as to apologize.

Is it over for Nate?  The good news is nothing permanent will go on his school record and he can continue his education.  But he’s undoubtedly been traumatized by the entire situation and now will have a “reputation” at school.  He’ll also have the thought police living in his own head every time he wants to share anything that isn’t lock-step with PC culture.  And at 16 years old, he’s had his civil rights violated for participating in not one, but two, constitutionally protected activities – shooting guns and sharing a video of it.

On January 1, 2020 Colorado’s “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPO law will go into effect.  I’ve long said ERPO’s will be Safe2Tell for adults, and students have dubbed Safe 2 Tell as “Safe 2 Swat”, referencing the act of “swatting“, a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service into sending a police and emergency service response team to another person’s address.  Had this same scenario taken place while the ERPO law is in effect, Justine likely would have lost her firearms.

We need to continue to rally together as a community and push back at every turn.  If you or your child ends up in a situation like Nate’s, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Rally for our Rights. We’ve got your back.

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Actually, Donald Trump Could “Red Flag” Chris Cuomo – And Here’s Why

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In the wake of two tragic public mass shootings, one of which the National Gun Violence Memorial actually honored the perpetrator as a gun violence victim, calls for knee jerk gun control legislation has been front and center on both the left and the right.  Prominent Republicans such as President Donald Trump, Congressman Dan Crenshaw, and several senators are calling for “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO laws.

And now, after Colorado passed an atrocious “Red Flag” ERPO bill in 2019 – a bill that passed by only ONE vote in the hyper-partisan Democrat controlled legislature with every Republican and three Democrats voting against it – we might be looking at Colorado becoming a blueprint for the whole country, a very terrible idea.

Then yesterday I woke to this tweet from President Donald Trump: “Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!”

I, just like millions of others, had to hunt down exactly what Trump was talking about.  And I did.  Here’s what happened:

A man in New York approached CNN’s Chris Cuomo and called him “Fredo”.  Watch the video for the exact exchange, but here’s a snip…

Cuomo: “You’re going to have a problem”
Man: “What are you going to do about it?”
Cuomo: “I’ll fuckin ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs”

Now here’s where I think this gets really interesting following Trump’s tweet; Cuomo could actually get Red Flagged for this.  The criteria fits perfectly.  This is why:

1.) He made a violent threat – and even though the threat was regarding stairs, not firearms, it STILL qualifies!  Below is an excerpt from HB19-1177, Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law.  You can access it yourself here, scroll to the bottom of page 8 and top of page 9.

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

2.) We know he owns firearms because he has stated that on Twitter in the past.  Again in HB19-1177, it states another qualification is ownership, access to, or intent to posses a firearm.  Read it yourself here, scroll to the bottom of page 8 and top of page 9.

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

And his Tweet stating he’s a gun owner:

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Now the person Cuomo threatened wouldn’t be able to bring forth the “Red Flag” ERPO petition (unless, of course, he wanted to state him and Cuomo had an affair in the past), but that person – or anyone for that matter – would be able to approach law enforcement and ask them to do it for him.  Or if an ex-girlfriend of Cuomo’s saw this, or maybe a live-in nanny he’d fired, they’d be able to go right to the court and file the petition themselves.

What happens next?   Well, Cuomo would get a visit from his local law enforcement agency with a temporary “Red Flag” order in hand, along with a search warrant to find all those guns he’s told us he owns.  Within 14 days, he’d be able to go to court and show the judge Trump’s tweet, and convince him or her that he is not a risk to anyone at all – even though he’d made the threats to throw that man down the stairs. If the judge doesn’t agree to return his guns, the order goes into effect for 364 days, during which time Cuomo will have one opportunity to ask the courts to get his firearms – his means of self defense – back. Of course, each time the court considers returning them, the person who brought forth the petition will be alerted and have an opportunity to ask the judge to not return them – FOREVER.

Sounds like some real “common sense gun legislation” doesn’t it?  <insert sarcasm>

But it proves the point of exactly how poorly these laws are written, and that Trump, as misguided (or not?) as his Twitter statement was, it is 110% accurate and not hyperbole at all. 

Why “Red Flag” ERPO Laws Are Not The Solution To Mass Shootings

Are "Red Flag" ERPO Laws The Solution To Mass Shootings?

After every public mass shooting, the call for gun control reaches a new pitch.  Those on the anti-gun left have gone so far as suggesting banning nearly every modern day semi-automatic firearm and having police go door to door confiscating them.  And those on the right are calling for “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order laws in every state.

But is this really the answer?  The suggestion of a door to door gun confiscation would be laughable if these people were joking- but they aren’t.  How any politician believes using what they refer to as “weapons of war” to confiscate “weapons of war” will not turn into a war, is beyond me.  Even the anti-gun, Bloomberg funded website “The Trace” admits there are at bare minimum 20 million civilian owned, modern day sporting rifles in the US, and nearly all of them have never been used to commit a crime.

So what about “Red Flag” laws?  Let’s take a quick look at Red Flag laws and what they do…

“Red Flag” laws are also called ERPO’s or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, a term coined by the anti-gun movement to deter from the negative reputation that came with “Red Flag” legislation.  Don’t be fooled though, they are the exact same thing.  Red Flag laws have actually been around since 1999, although they are quickly rising in popularity.  In fact, Connecticut had a Red Flag law in place when the Sandy Hook shooting happened and California had one in place at the time of the San Bernardino attack, the Thousands Oaks shooting, and the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

The proponents and mainstream media will tell you Red Flag ERPO laws allow family or law enforcement to petition the court to have the firearms removed from someone who is proven to be a danger to themselves or others.

To the general public, this sounds pretty benign, and polling reflects that when the law is presented this way.

But what if I phrased it this way: It’s a law that allows an abusive ex to petition the court, over the phone, for $0, to have the firearms confiscated from an individual they wish to disarm.  The petition is granted based on the lowest evidentiary threshold used in court, a preponderance of evidence (meaning there is a 51% chance that the accusation is true) and when the temporary order is issued by the court, it is coupled with a search warrant.  This means the first time the accused even finds out these proceedings are taking place is when the police are at their door ready to raid their home prepared to take away their means of self defense against the same abusive ex who requested the ERPO – and possibly the means of defense for their children.

Because that is exactly what these laws do.  It is legalized swatting that can be done by a laundry list of family members, former and current roommates, and anyone you have ever been intimate with.  Don’t believe me?  Read through the 30+ pages of HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders that was just signed by the governor here in Colorado.

There is a big difference between supporting the concept of a Red Flag law, and supporting the actual legislation that is being passed. The devil is always in the details.

But do they work?

Well, we already pointed out above three mass shooting in California with one of the broadest Red Flag laws (right behind Colorado’s), as well as Sandy Hook in Connecticut.  So, no, they didn’t work to stop killers in those instances and there is zero evidence they have thwarted any attacks elsewhere.

But what about suicide? Proponents will of course tell you yes, they work.  States like Indiana pointed to stats showing suicide by firearm was decreasing.  Well, turns out it wasn’t.  It was still increasing but not at the projected rate, so they consider that a win.  In addition, suicide by other methods has skyrocketed and Indiana has dropped from 19th in the country for mental health in 2011, to 45th in 2015, and in both 2016 and 2017 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all residents over all demographics, and the leading cause for certain demographics.  Their Red Flag law was enacted in 2005.

Why are we seeing these results?  Because these laws have nothing to do with mental health, and everything to do with taking away the guns.  The bill sponsors here in Colorado even admitted that during the month long debate before the bill passed by ONE SINGLE vote with every Republican and three Democrats voting against it.  Watch the video here:

These laws are widely opposed by law enforcement, as they realize the danger they will put their officers and citizens in, as well as the unconstitutionality of the law.  In Colorado, more than 50 of the 64 sheriffs opposed the legislation, as did the Denver and Aurora police unions.  The ACLU has opposed legislation in other states such as Rhode Island.  And people have been killed having these Red Flag orders served, such as happened in Maryland when a woman ERPO’d her brother after a family dispute. She later admitted she did not believe he would have hurt a fly, but he was killed when he refused to turn over his guns. Trading death for death is never the answer. The lives of gun owners do not matter less than the lives of anyone else.

We should also always remember in the “do something” era, passing feel good, knee jerk, virtue signaling legislation is a waste of valuable time and resources that could be used to actually DO SOMETHING, for example Maine passed a completely different proper adjudication law to address the same issue.  You can learn about that by listening to this podcast here.

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Recalls, Recalls, Recalls! What You Need To Know

After one of the most hyper-partisan elections Colorado has ever witnessed, the 2019 legislative session was one for the history books.  With Governor Jared Polis signing into law 456 new pieces of legislation, including HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders, citizens of the state were left stunned by what had transpired.  And they’re doing something about it through several recalls that are in the works.

Here’s what you need to know about them:

Recall Governor Jared Polis

The Recall Polis campaign is a mighty feat, and if you were paying attention on social media when it launched, you know it got off to a rocky start with three recall groups struggling to work together.  Although the dust has settled on the latter issue, the recall is still a huge task. That said, I’ve been impressed with the pure energy and grassroots effort that it has become.  In all corners of the state and along the front range, hundreds of volunteers are setting up signing locations and dedicating their summer to get this done.  They will need to collect 631,000 valid signatures by September 7th for the recall to move forward.  If they succeed, a special election will take place in which voters will be asked if they want to recall the governor; and a second question asking if the governor is recalled, who they would want to replace him.  I’ve heard very little about possible candidates, so I suppose we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.

The initial conflict of the Recall Polis campaigns had some people believing the petitions were fake or that if they signed it, they would lose their opportunity to sign the “real” petition.  I have no opinions about the groups involved, but what I do know is the petition being circulated is legit and is the only Recall Polis petition available.  The group has said if they do not collect enough signatures in the time allotted they will not turn them in, which means any other group could start another recall and anyone who already signed would be able to sign again.

There are hundreds of signing locations available daily all over the state.  To find signing locations click here.

Recall State Senator Pete Lee

State Senator Pete Lee also has an active recall. Lee sits in El Paso county’s SD-11 which encompasses Central and West Colorado Springs, Down Town, The Older part of Colorado Springs By Colorado College, Manitou Springs, Old Colorado City and more. This is also the same seat State Senator John Morse was recalled from in 2013 after he supported a package of gun control bills.  Senator Pete Lee was a strong proponent of HB19-1177 “Red Flag” ERPO during the 2019 legislative session, even after the local newspaper encouraged him to vote with his constituents and not his party. It’s a little more difficult to find recall signing locations for Lee, but more information and a contact form can be found here.  I’ve also been told petitions are available at Specialty Sports & Supply (4285 E Fountain Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80916) from 3 – 5pm M-F, or Western Insurance Solutions (4740 Flintridge Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80918) from 9am – 5pm M-F.

Recall State Senator Brittany Pettersen

State Senator Brittany Pettersen was not only a supporter of Colorado’s “Red Flag” legislation, she sponsored it.  And now there is an active recall against her.  She sits in SD22, which encompasses part of Jefferson County. The number of times she mocked the concerns of gun owners was simply shocking – even abused women who spoke of their fear an abuser could legally disarm them through the red flag law.  She is quoted as saying “This bill is not about mental health, it is about taking away guns.”  Finding information about the signing locations for her recall has proven to be difficult, as most petitioners are going door to door.  If you are in her district and want to sign or carry a petition, I’d suggest using the contact form on this webpage.

Recall Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock

Republican Sheriff of Douglas County, Tony Spurlock, led the path for HB19-1177 “Red Flag” ERPO.  The bill is named after a deputy of his, Zackari Parrish, who died in the line of duty.  The bill is supposed to prevent situations like the one Deputy Parrish walked into from happening, but instead it created a disaster that will not only put law enforcement in harms way, but citizens too.  Sheriff Tony Spurlock helped pass a law that was opposed by over 50 of Colorado’s 64 sheriffs along with the Denver and Aurora Police Unions because they know how dangerous it is to those in the line of duty.  The law is grossly unconstitutional, violating multiple rights of citizens.  And Spurlock worked hand in hand with Moms Demand Action, Bloomberg’s well funded astroturf arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, to pass it into law.  Spurlock needs to go.  A well organized effort is underway to recall him with petitions expected to drop by September.  Organizers are asking those anxious to sign to be patient, as they have a plan – and they do.  If you are in DougCo and want to sign a petition, you can pre-register here.  You can also sign up to volunteer and/or make a donation at www.recallspurlock.org.  Follow the effort on Facebook here.

What is a valid signature?

A valid signature is from a Colorado voter who is registered to vote in the district of the recall, or for the Recall Polis any Colorado resident who is registered to vote in the state.  When signing, their name, address, and signature must match that of their voter registration.  It is important that nicknames aren’t used, and that if the voter has moved recently, they use the address where they are registered to vote on the date they are signing.  If they have recently moved to the recall district, they will need to update their voter registration with their new address before signing the petition.

CLICK HERE to check your voter registration and/or make changes.
CLICK HERE to register to vote.

Everyone has differing opinions on recalls.  My opinion is simple. If you support the effort, sign the petition.  If you don’t support it, don’t sign it.  

Pueblo, CO City Council SHUTS DOWN Public Comment On SECOND AMENDMENT SANCTUARY Resolution

pueblo city council denies attendees to speak on second amendment rally for our rights

In March, during the heart of the “Red Flag” ERPO debate, Pueblo City Council Member Mark Aliff announced he would be presenting a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution at the March 25th regularly scheduled council meeting.  This was on the heels of over half the counties in Colorado adopting similar resolutions, as well as many municipalities, in response to a poorly written and downright dangerous piece of legislation Democrats in the Colorado legislature were considering – HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPOs.  This bill did pass by one vote with all Republicans and three Pueblo Democrats voting against it. It is awaiting the governor’s signature.

I attended the Pueblo City Council Meeting with friends from Pueblo, and I witnessed first hand a gross abuse of power via manipulation of standard protocol, effectively silencing those who were there to speak on the resolution.  It was blatantly obvious this was planned prior to the meeting and I have submitted a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request with the city to find exactly what went down.

Here’s a synopsis of how the meeting went:

• The announcement of the resolution came approx one week prior to the meeting.  Communication with the council member presenting the resolution told us comment on the resolution would be taken during general public comment at the beginning of the meeting.  This is standard for anything unless it is a specific hearing on an ordinance, as is outlined in council rules.

• Upon arrival, it was discovered public comment on this topic only was moved to later in the meeting when the resolution would be be discussed.  A separate sign up was used for this one topic, and anyone who had signed up for public comment on this topic was reserved to include with the others.

• In the past if public comment was to be taken at the time the resolution is presented, that comment is given PRIOR to the motion being moved.  In this case, they moved the motion first, then asked for a second, which didn’t come and the council president found that as terms for denial of the resolution that no one had been allowed to speak to!  This is unbelievable, as the job of city council is to act on behalf of the citizens. If they do not even allow citizens to speak, they cannot and do not represent them.

• Many people in attendance were angry.  Everyone left the room where local media interviewed people from both sides of the issue.  After attendees left, the council continued to discuss what had just happened, with the main discussion participants being the city attorney, council president Dennis Flores, and the council member who put forth the resolution, Mark Aliff.

Watch the video for yourself to see how despicable these antics were, then scroll down to learn what you can do.

Here’s what you can do:

Attend the next city council meeting and sign up to speak during public comment.  Let them know EXACTLY what you think of this power move.

Monday, April 8th, 7:00pm
1 City Hall Place
3rd Floor
Pueblo, CO 81003

Contact all city council members by email and phone.

Bob Schilling
719-250-4520
[email protected]

Larry Antencio
719-248-9141
[email protected]

Ed Brown
719-671-7450
[email protected]

Ray Aguilera
719-415-0400
[email protected]

Dennis Flores
719-406-9852
[email protected]

Chris Nicol
719-924-5449
[email protected]

No time to contact them all individually?  Copy/paste this email list and send your email to them all!

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Get connected with Rally for our Rights on social media and donate to help keep up going and growing.

Red Flag ERPO Bill Passes Colorado State Senate BY ONE VOTE!

ERPO Red Flag Passes Colorado Senate Rally for our Rights

HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPO bill just passed the Colorado state senate by ONE VOTE! 18-17.

All Republicans and one Democrat voted against it in the Senate. It has already passed the House with all Republicans and two Democrats voting NO. Because it does have Senate amendments, it will go back to the house to vote on those amendments before making it’s way to the governor’s desk.

From here, I’ll be working with law enforcement across the state to put pressure on Governor Polis to either veto the bill, or send it back to the legislature for re-consideration. This effort will be BIG! How privileged are those lawmakers to pass law they will never have to enforce, while those who will have to enforce it are saying NO. I will also be working with the sheriffs to request an injunction that would prevent it from becoming law (if signed, it would officially become law on Jan 1, 2020).  Pledge your support for recalls here!

CONTACT GOVERNOR JARED POLIS AND ASK HIM TO VETO HB19-1177!

Phone: 303-866-2471
Online Contact: www.colorado.gov/governor/share-your-comments
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PolisForColorado

Just like all of you, I’m furious. This piece of legislation is unbelievably bad. Although I will say in this current hyper-partisan body of government, I am proud of how far we have pushed this narrative, that votes were tough to get, and that Democrats crossed party lines in opposition, right down to it passing by a single vote. We are setting brushfires and this vote has only fueled those fires. We’re just getting started.

Feel free to use this post as a place to sound off. Let us know what you’d like to see next. We have a big event in the works that we’ve been waiting to announce based on this vote. Details coming soon on that.

In Freedom,
Lesley Hollywood, Rally For Our Rights Founder

ERPO Red Flag Passes Colorado Senate Rally for our Rights

MUST WATCH! CO State Senator Kerry Donovan Is Called Out By Her Sheriff Over RED FLAG BILL And Loses It On Constituents!

This past Saturday I traveled to Salida, CO attend a town hall hosted by State Senator Kerry Donovan.  Donovan is a rural Democrat who has vote with Republicans on gun issues in the past.  Her district is largely pro-gun, and she knows it.  She also knows HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPO is DANGEROUS POLICY for her gun owning constituents.  She should do the right thing and vote NO on this bill.  It is her duty as a representative of the communities she represents, including the sheriffs who oppose this legislation on safety grounds.  

Last Friday during the “Red Flag” ERPO Senate Floor debate, Donovan stated that she had spoken to Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze, as well as the county commissioners, and that they DID NOT oppose HB19-1177 and would NOT be adopting Second Amendment Sanctuary status.  But at her town hall the truth came out when the sheriff himself stated they had never had a conversation, that he opposed the bill, and that he would be asking his commissioners to seek Second Amendment Sanctuary status.  This was backed up by one of the county commissioners.  Then she loses it on her constituents..

 

Colorado HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPO will be going to a final vote any day!  Contact these lawmakers by phone and email NOW!  

Kerry Donovan
[email protected]us
303-866-4871

Leroy Garcia
[email protected]us
303-866-4878

Rachel Zenzinger
[email protected]
303-866-4840

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Here’s Why Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO Bill Is One Of The Most Dangerous In The Nation

This year’s bill is being called an “Emergency Risk Protection Order” or ERPO in an attempt to lose the negative “Red Flag” reputation.  It is also being pushed more than ever as being about suicide prevention.  Don’t let any of it fool you.  The devil is in the details; it’s in the 30 pages of bill language.  You can read a complete break down of these 30 pages here, as well as watch a video going through the language line by line.

Here’s what you’ll hear the media say this bill does:

A family member or law enforcement officer would petition a court to request the ability to immediately seize a person’s guns. If a judge signs the order, the weapons can be taken away and the court must hold a hearing within 14 days to determine whether to extend the seizure and bar the person from purchasing more firearms.”

Here’s what they wont tell you: 

• Almost anyone can request an ERPO without even showing their face or providing their address. The definition of “family or household member” is so broad it includes ex-lovers who you have never even lived with!  Or someone *claiming* you once had an affair.  And even old roommates.

• The initial report and hearing can be done over the phone, all while the accused is completely oblivious proceedings are taking place to have his or her firearms confiscated.  There is no due process at this first hearing – which is the hearing where permission is given to confiscate gun!  Even Colorado Attorney General Weiser admits to the lack of due process.  Watch his testimony here.

• The first time the accused learns someone has reported them will be when local law enforcement shows up at their door with an order AND a search warrant prepared to raid your home – while the accused never even committed a crime.  This search warrant is a BRAND NEW type of warrant that is created in the bill – a gun owner specific civil search warrant.  Read all about that here.

• 14 days later is the first time the accused will have a chance to defend themselves against this non-crime.  The burden of proof will fall on the accused, not on the petitioner who can actually provide affidavits rather than attend court!

• The guns will be confiscated for 364 days, during which time the accused only has one opportunity to ask the courts to lift the order.

• There is zero accountability for false accusers. In fact, the filing fee is $0! For comparison, requesting a Temporary Restraining Order in Colorado is $97.  Attorney General Weiser also admitted false claims will be par for the course. Listen to his statements here

• This bill is being touted as a “suicide prevention” bill, when in fact, the fear of having your firearms confiscated will make people terrified to ask for help when they need it, and will undoubtedly escalate situations rather than deescalate them..

• It is so rife for abuse, it can easily be used by someone’s stalker or abuser to have their victim disarmed – legally.

• The ERPO will go on a person’s permanent record EVEN if it is dismissed, meaning it will show up on background checks, etc.

Read a complete write up of the bill here: www.rallyforourrights.com/colorados-red-flag-erpo-worse-than-you-think

Colorado AG Admits To False Claims, Lack Of Due Process As “Red Flag” ERPO Bill Heads To Senate Floor

Colorado AG Admits To False Claims, Lack Of Due Process As "Red Flag" ERPO Bill Heads To Senate Floor

Last Friday, March 15th, after nearly ten hours of testimony, HB19-11477: “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPO bill passed out of the Colorado Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee on a 3-2 party line vote. It will be headed to the Senate floor for a full vote in the coming days.  Right now it is critical we contact our State Senators and ask them to oppose this bill, HB19-1177. You can find contact info here, or use the copy/paste email list provided below. 

During this marathon hearing, we heard testimony after testimony from gun owners discussing everything from personal experiences of domestic violence and stalkers – and fears this law would be used to disarm victims, to recounts of SWAT escalating suicide situations.  Concerns the “mentally ill” label in the bill could be used against those in the LGBTQ community, to sound Constitutional arguments.  The testimony was powerful – and on point.

Bill proponent, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock gave a bizarre and unraveling testimony which you can watch here.

But besides Spurlock, one of the most alarming testimonies was given by Colorado State Attorney General Phil Weiser.  During his testimony, he nonchalantly admits this bill will be imperfect, that false accusations are just par for the course, and he oddly compares it to copyright infringement claims.  I have no idea how he thinks removing copyrighted material from a website based on false claims is at all the same as confiscating an innocent person’s firearms. But apparently he does. He then goes on to make it clear, should this law pass, sheriffs and law enforcement must enforce it until it’s determined to be unconstitutional in the courts, which would be years. 

Watch the the video below for his testimony highlights. His full testimony can be found here.

And when you’re done watching the video, email and call these State Senators and ask them to vote NO on HB19-1177:

Leroy Garcia
[email protected]
303-866-4878

Kerry Donovan
[email protected]
303-866-4871

Rachel Zenzinger
[email protected]
303-866-4840

Dominick Moreno
[email protected]
303-866-4857

And copy/paste this entire email list as well:

[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected]