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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Here’s How Colorado Red Flag Orders Will Go Down According To Newly Released Best Practices

Colorado’s Newest Red Flag ERPO Bill Is Worse Than You Think : Rally for our Rights Colorado

Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law will go into effect January 1, 2020.  Leading up to this, the Colorado Attorney General’s office is responsible for developing law enforcement “best practices” via their POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Board.  Those were just released this week and we’ve included the full text below.  It should be noted that Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser admitted during the debate of this legislation that there will be false claims, lack of due process, and collateral damage.

It’s important to note if the person being Red Flagged lives within city limits, it is the responsibility of the CITY police department to do this. If the person is in unincorporated county, it is the responsibility of the COUNTY Sheriff’s Office.  This mean 246 different agencies across Colorado will have to figure out how to abide by these guidelines as well as find firearm storage space for confiscated weapons.

There is a very glaring piece missing from these best practices: what to do if someone refuses to comply.  Some agencies, such as the Weld County Sheriff’s office and the El Paso County Sheriff’s office have already stated they will not take surrendered firearms or provide storage for them, but they will deliver the order so the person being accused can have the due process they deserve – and they wouldn’t have otherwise since the accused doesn’t know they have been Red Flagged until law enforcement is at their door.

Other agencies such as Douglas County Sheriff’s office have stated they will make sure every Red Flag ERPO order is accompanied with a search warrant, no matter who the petitioner is.   Sounds like he’s ready for some legalized SWATTING in the name of his deputy who was killed doing the exact same thing he will soon be asking the rest of his deputies to do on potentially innocent people.

If you’re not familiar with how this law works, click here to read up on it.  It’s downright frightening.

ERPO Model Policy: Acceptance, Storage, and Return of Firearms
CRS 13-14.5-101
Deputy Zackari Parrish III Violence Protection Act

Download the PDF here: ERPO Weapon Seizure Policy

I. Purpose:

To provide direction and guidelines for the proper handling and storage of firearms that are surrendered, or seized as a result of an Extreme Risk Protection Order. This policy will also deal with the proper procedure to follow for the return, or disposal of firearms after resolution of the ERPO has been achieved.

II. Scope:

This policy is available for use to all law enforcement agencies in The State of Colorado.

III. Policy:

Colorado Courts may order, pursuant to CRS 13-405.5-101, the surrender, or seizure of firearms. Officers will comply with all applicable Colorado Revised Statutes in regards to the acceptance, storage, and return of all firearms.

IV. Definitions:

A. Respondent- the person who is the subject of the Extreme Risk Protection Order.

B. Extreme Risk Protection Order- Known in this document also as an ERPO. Either a temporary, or continuing order granted pursuant to CRS 13-14.5-101.

C. Firearm- Any handgun, automatic, revolver, pistol, rifle, shotgun, or other instrument or device capable of discharging bullets, cartridges, or other explosive charges.

D. Antique firearm/Relic- any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898.

E. Federal Firearms Dealer- A Federal Firearms Dealer is a person licensed in the United States, that enables an individual or company engaged in a business pertaining to the manufacture or importation of firearms and ammunition, or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms.

V. Acceptance of a Firearm:

There are two methods by which you will be in the position to accept weapons based on the issuance of the temporary ERPO. They are by voluntary surrender by the respondent, as directed in the language of the temporary ERPO, or seizure by you, or your agency, during a lawful search pursuant search warrant, plain view search, or consent.

A. Voluntary Firearm surrender – According to orders set by the court in the temporary ERPO, the respondent has 24 hours to surrender all firearm(s) listed in the court order, or in their control or possession. The order will require surrender of the firearm(s) to law enforcement, or a federal firearms dealer for transfer, storage, or sale. They may also be transferred to a family member, if firearm is classified as an antique, or relic.

If the firearms are surrendered to law enforcement, you will give the option to the respondent of where they want the firearm(s) to go. The options allow for a transfer to a federal firearms dealer for storage or sale, or storage with law enforcement. Be advised, this law does not require a federal firearms dealer to accept the firearm, they have the option to refuse. If the respondent indicates no preference, officers will take custody of the firearm for storage at a secure law enforcement facility. If applicable, and set forth in the temporary order, you will also take custody the respondent’s concealed carry permit. You will be required to issue a property receipt accounting for every firearm surrendered to you, and the concealed carry permit, if applicable. You will issue a copy of the inventory of items seized to the respondent prior to termination of the contact. Additionally, you must ensure the original copy of the receipt is filed with the courts, and a copy is retained with your original report. The original receipt for the firearm(s) that have been surrendered must be submitted to the court within 72 hours.

If the firearm in question is an antique, or relic, you may give that firearm to a relative if: the relative does not live with the respondent, and you have verified through a criminal records check, CBI InstaCheck, that the relative is legally allowed to be in possession of a firearm. You must still complete a property receipt for the transfer from storing the firearm until relinquished to the relative. The relative retains a copy of the receipt, the original goes to the court within 72 hours, and a copy submitted with your report.

Once the firearm is in your possession, and proper documentation has been completed, the weapon will be secured, packaged, and stored in accordance with your agency’s existing policies regarding firearm storage, and in accordance with section IV of this policy. The ammunition and any magazines associated with the surrendered firearm(s) will not be taken.

B. Firearm Seizure – If you as the law enforcement officer are the petitioner, and a temporary ERPO is issued, the process begins with
the issuance of the order. Along with the search warrant obtained at the ERPO hearing, you serve the order to the respondent.

After the respondent has been properly served with the ERPO, you shall take custody of the respondent’s firearm(s) pursuant to the previously obtained search warrant, or other lawful search (plain view).

If applicable, and named in the warrant, you will also seize the respondent’s concealed carry permit.

Similar to the voluntary surrender, once you have seized all of the firearms in question, either seized through a lawful search, or in plain view, the respondent will have the option of the disposition of their firearms. They may choose transfer to a federal firearms dealer, or police custody. If they offer no preference the firearms will remain in police custody.

Also, just as with the voluntary surrender of firearm(s), upon completion of your search, a receipt shall be issued to the respondent articulating all items seized. The original will be filed with the court, and a copy filed with your original report. The original to court needs to be submitted within 72 hours.

If after the firearms are in the possession of your agency, another party claims verifiable title to the firearms, the firearms will be released to him or her. You must also confirm that party is eligible to be in possession of firearm(s), via a CBI InstaCheck. This transaction must also be documented, and notification made to the court.

As with the surrendering of weapons, when you are seizing the weapons by order or warrant, you will not seize any ammunition or magazines associated with the firearm(s).

VI. Storage of Firearms

Once the firearms are in the control and care of your agency, they will be stored, and maintained in a substantially similar condition that the firearm was in when it was surrendered. If the respondent makes no choice of the firearm’s disposition, your agency will store the firearm in a similar manner as if surrendered. You will follow your agency’s policy for safe and secure storage of a firearm i.e. unloaded, open action or cylinder secured by lock, or strap. If the respondent opts for the storage of the weapon(s) with a registered Federal Firearms Dealer, your agency will contact a dealer requesting storage on the respondent’s behalf, and assist to facilitate the transfer.


VII. Return of Firearms

If the ERPO or temporary ERPO is terminated, or expires without renewal, your agency, or agency in possession of the respondent’s firearm(s), have no more than three days to return the firearm(s) in your possession to the respondent. The three day window for the return of the firearm(s) will begin upon the completion of an InstaCheck by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Your agency will be notified of the termination of the order by the court. You will then, via a CCIC notification, request the InstaCheck be completed by Colorado Bureau of Investigation. CBI in turn will notify you, again via CCIC, of the status of the respondent.

If the firearm(s) are in the care and custody of a Federal Firearms Dealer, they too have the same window of three days to return the firearm(s) to the respondent. The three day window for the return of  the firearm(s) will begin upon the completion of a an InstaCheck by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

If the firearm(s) was/were classified as an antique or relic, and transferred to the care and control of a relative, they are also required to return care and custody of the firearm(s) in no more than three days to the respondent. The three day window for the return of the firearm(s) will begin upon the completion of the InstaCheck by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

If applicable, the respondent’s concealed carry permit will be returned at the same time as the firearm(s).

Any firearm(s) surrendered by the respondent, or taken into custody by a lawful order, that remains unclaimed by the respondent, or lawful owner for at least one year from the date the temporary ERPO, or ERPO expired, whichever is later, becomes property of your agency. The firearm(s) will then be disposed of in accordance with your agency’s policy and procedure for disposal of firearms in police custody.

Full documentation of the disposition of the firearm(s) needs to be submitted to the respondent, to the courts, and in your case disposition report.

 

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Debunking CBS “60 Minutes” Segment On Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO Law

It seems a day doesn’t go by that we’re not debunking more lies and half truths coming from the mainstream media.  The latest is a 60 Minutes segment that aired Sunday.  This segment titled “A look at Red Flag laws and the battle over one in Colorado” is chock full of inaccurate facts, omissions, and misinformation.  We go over those below.

To watch the full segment, you will have to visit the CBS website and view it there.  It is 14 minutes long and free to watch.

You can watch a quick preview of the segment here:

Our take:

1.) There have not been 366 mass shootings this year (learn more: www.rallyforourrights.com/we-are-being-lied-to-about-mass-shootings-again)

2.) California passed their Red Flag law in 2014, not 2016.  Now this is a minor discrepancy, but something 60 Minutes absolutely should have gotten correct.  If they are going to flub on such a simple fact, what else will they get wrong?  Do they not know how to use Google?

3.) Connecticut had a Red Flag law in place when Sandy Hook happened. Theirs was enacted in 1999. Sandy Hook happened in 2012 and was NOT the catalyst to write the law as the segment implies.

4.) Law enforcement is not the only entity who can petition the courts. Spouses, ex-spouses, roommates, former roommates, any relative or step-relative, a Tinder date gone wrong, or someone you had an affair with are all also people who can petition the courts for a Red Flag ERPO.   If you don’t fall in to the insanely broad range of people the law defines as “family members”, you can then simply go to a law enforcement officer and have them file the petition for you.

5.) The temporary orders are granted based on a preponderance of evidence – even when law enforcement files the petition.  Preponderance quite literally means the more convincing evidence, yet the person being accused is not present at the hearing and doesn’t know it’s taking place, therefore cannot present any evidence at all.  The accuser will ALWAYS present the more convincing evidence. How will any of these ever be denied?

5.) It’s despicable how Sheriff Tony Spurlock said “this is a tool to take away guns” then turns around and says “this isn’t about taking away guns, it’s about getting people the help they need” when there is absolutely NO mental health component to the Colorado law.

6.) Watching the Zackari Parrish footage has us wondering how that is any different than serving a Red Flag warrant? How would the outcome change? Also, if they just left him alone that night, what would have happened? Why did Spurlock send his deputies into what he knew could be a gun fight with soft body armor?

7.) Sheriff Steve Reams was thoughtful, reasonable and great in pointing out that we need to be helping people, not simply removing the tool that could do harm. We are thankful for him.

8.) They omit the fact that more than 50 of Colorado’s 64 sheriffs oppose the law as written, as does the Denver Police Union and the Aurora Police Union.

Learn all about Colorado’s Red Flag law here.

 

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They’re Coming For Your AR-15s and AK-47s Even Though Handguns Are Used In Nearly All Gun Crimes

AR’s, AK’s, and assault rifles, oh my!

If you watched the last two Democratic Presidential Debates you heard how every candidate wants to get “weapons of war” off the streets in an effort to tackle what they call our country’s “gun violence” epidemic.  These candidates quickly make it clear when they say weapons of war, they mean AR-15s and AK-47s .  Beto O’Rourke even said he plans to have the police go door to door to confiscate these terrifying guns from those who refuse to cooperate with a mandatory buyback, backing up his “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” promise.

It’s unclear if these candidates are clueless as to how infrequently rifles such as AR-15s and AK-47s are actually used in gun crime, or if they are using these scary sounding trigger words to garner support from a populace that is being brainwashed to believe these particular firearms are responsible for a grossly inflated number of mass shootings. My guess is it’s a combination of the two.

If you haven’t yet learned how the gun grabbers are inflating these mass shooting numbers, you must read this article.

Our research team dug into the latest FBI report on gun deaths and put together some very telling charts.  This first one shows exactly how insignificant rifles are in the larger picture, and in fact, up until 2015, shotguns have been used in more murders than rifles.

Look closely, there are four lines in this graph…and the rifles line is so insignificant it can barely be seen.  

 

In addition, our research team took it one step further to look at the alleged “gun violence” epidemic and how it relates to rifles.  This chart shows that even these small numbers have been declining for years, and continue to do so.

 

Here’s another graph that shows where the firearm murder rate sits compared to all murders via other methods. It’s clear that both have been steadily trending downward for years, and that the firearm murder rate follows an overall murder trend, again emphasizing that the problem is violence, and not the tool one wishes to be violent with.

 

Bottom line: “Assault Weapons” Bans or mandatory buybacks are nothing but knee-jerk, virtue signaling reactions.

Just say NO.

 

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Understanding Colorado’s “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO Law

Colorado’s Newest Red Flag ERPO Bill Is Worse Than You Think : Rally for our Rights Colorado

Background

HB19-1177 Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO was introduced into the Colorado State Legislature on Feb 14, 2019.  It was sponsored by Rep Tom Sullivan and Rep Alec Garnett in the state house.  It passed the house on March 4, 2019 with every Republican and two Democrats voting against it. It was sponsored by Sen Lois Court and Sen Brittany Pettersen in the state senate, where it passed on March 28, 2019 with every Republican and one Democrat voting against it. This legislation had bi-partisan OPPOSITION.  It was signed by Governor Jared Polis on April 12, 2019.  It will become law on January 1, 2020.

Red Flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders or Gun Violence Restraining Orders, have been around since 1999, when Connecticut adopted theirs.  This was followed by Indiana in 2005, California in 2014, Washington in 2016, and Oregon in 2017.  In 2018 nine other states passed Red Flag ERPO laws, and in 2019 three states passed them, including Colorado.

What the public is being told about Colorado’s law

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. The longest a judge could order the seizure of firearms is 364 days. The entire process is a civil, not criminal, proceeding.

Who can petition the courts?

According to the bill summary and media reports, only family or household members, and law enforcement can petition the courts. But what is the definition of “family member” and “household member”?

According to the bill language, “family or household member” means:

  • Person related by blood, marriage, or adoption;
  • Person who has a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether such person has been married to the respondent or has lived together with the respondent at any time;
  • Person who regularly resides or regularly resided with the respondent within the last six months;
  • Domestic partner of the respondent;
  • Person who has a biological or legal parent-child relationship with the respondent, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren;
  • Person who is acting or has acted as the respondent’s legal guardian;
  • A person in any other relationship described in section 18-6-800.3 (2) with the respondent. [So, what does 18-6-800.3 (2) say? “Intimate relationship” means a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.]

What is needed to file the ERPO petition?

The filing of the ERPO petition can be done either in person or over the phone.  The petition must be filed in the county court of where the accused lives – but since the petitioner can do it over the phone, they don’t even need to be in the same state.  There is NO filing fee.  The petitioner even has the option to not provide their address, and in certain cases, it can be done anonymously.

Questions that will be asked on the petition include how many firearms the person being accused has, what types, and where they are located.  This doesn’t only include ownership – it also includes possession, custody, or control.

Petitioners are also asked to disclose if there are any other legal actions pending between parties, such as: current restraining orders, lawsuits, civil suits, custody cases, etc, but the existence of such cases shall not delay or prevent an ERPO from being granted.

What happens after the ERPO petition is filed?

Once an ERPO petition is filed, a hearing will be set either the same day or the next day.  Once again, the petitioner (accuser) does not need to be present. They can attend this hearing over the phone.  At this hearing, the petitioner will be asked to provide a “preponderance” of evidence. Preponderance is the lowest evidentiary threshold used in the court system. It is based on the more convincing evidence.  But these hearings are ex-parte with only the accuser present, so there is no counterevidence presented.

What kind of evidence are they looking for?  A recent act or credible threat of violence, even if such act does not involve use of a firearm.  Self harm or threats of self harm within the past year.  A prior violation of a protection order.   A previous ERPO.   Prior domestic violence convictions.  Prior ARREST, even if not convicted, of a whole host of other crimes.  Ownership, access to, or intent to purchase a firearm.  Drug or alcohol abuse.  Recent acquisition of a firearm or ammunition.

At this hearing the court will either approve or deny the ERPO.  If it is denied, they must document reasoning for denial.

How will the ERPO be enacted?

Once the ERPO and warrant are in hand, it’s up to law enforcement how they take action, but these are judicial orders coming down from the courts.  Law enforcement is required to carry out the orders.  During the act of serving the ERPO on the accused, law enforcement must also determine if the individual should be put into a 72 hour involuntary commitment hold.

Once the firearms have been confiscated, the accused will be asked if they’d like to sell them, store them with law enforcement, or store them with a FFL.  The accused’s information will also be added to the CBI and NICS database prohibiting them from purchasing guns.

The order will include a future court date for the permanent hearing.  This will be the first opportunity the accused will have to speak on their own behalf.

The creation of a civil search warrant

Buried deep inside the bill language is one of the most unconstitutional pieces. They are creating a new type of search warrant in the state that would be specific to gun owners only: a civil search warrant.  This civil search warrant would be issued along with the initial temporary ERPO.

Currently, with very few exceptions, search warrants are only issued for criminal reasons.  According to mountains of existing case law, search warrants are granted by convincing a neutral and detached magistrate that they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is occurring at the place to be searched or that evidence of a crime may be found there.

Very few civil search warrants have ever been issued, and the ones that have were in cases of intellectual property such as seizing computer files, and even those required clear and convincing evidence.

What happens at the 14 day ERPO hearing?

First, it’s important to understand this hearing is WITHIN 14 days.  It could be in 3 days, or 6 days, or 14 days.

Prior to the hearing, the court will appoint an attorney or the accused can obtain their own or they can proceed self represented.  Because no one has been charged with a crime, these are civil cases, not criminal.  This means public defenders are not used, but instead the state would appoint one from a pool of attorneys who have agreed to work these cases.

During this hearing the petitioner and the accused will have the ability to provide evidence, call witnesses, cross examine witnesses, etc.  Once again, the petitioner does not need to be present, and can provide sworn affidavits.

The judge will make their decision based on clear and convincing evidence.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will either dismiss the ERPO, and the firearm rights of the accused will be restored and their guns returned.  Or the temporary ERPO will become a permanent ERPO.  This would mean it will remain in effect for 364 days.  The judge has the discretion to schedule hearings sooner than the 364 days if he or she believes the order should be lifted sooner.  The accused also has ONE opportunity during that 364 day period to request a hearing.  If they do request a hearing, the petitioner is alerted and that person can request it be denied.

What happens when the 364 days is up?

The petitioner will be alerted that the ERPO is going to expire, and they can request it be extended.  If this happens, another hearing similar to the one at 14 days will take place.  And it begins again.

What are the penalties?

Any person who has in his or her custody or control a firearm or purchases, possesses, or receives a firearm with knowledge that he or she is prohibited from doing so by an ERPO or temporary ERPO is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

There are no penalties for false reports/false accusers.

Have ERPO’s worked in other states?

It’s difficult to say because the majority of the laws are so new.

States like California and Connecticut have still seen horrific mass shootings.  Sandy Hook happened in Connecticut while they had a Red Flag law in place.  California has seen a public mass shooting each year since theirs went into effect in 2014.

States like Indiana pointed to stats showing suicide by firearm was decreasing, but 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.

They are also used differently in various states, and this is largely because the laws from state to state vary so drastically.

Florida has seen ERPO’s used 5 times a day since the law went into effect mid-2018, with over 2000 firearms taken. In contrast, Oregon has received 132 extreme risk protection order petitions total through August 2019 and granted 107.  Their law went into effect in 2017. These varying numbers are due to the process in which they are granted, as well as who is able to request them. Colorado’s law is one of the worst based on the broad range of people who can petition the courts as well as the low evidentiary threshold needed to grant one.

There is no mental health component

The claims that Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law will help those in a suicidal crisis is disingenuous at best and dangerous at worst.  Colorado’s law has no mental health component to it.  The legislation asks law enforcement to enter the home of a suicidal individual who own 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.

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 (www.holdmyguns.org).  In addition, Walk The Talk America offers non-crisis support to gun owners (www.WTTA.org).

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

There is deep concern within the firearms community that the existence of an ERPO law will make gun owners no longer reach out for help when they need it.

What about Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties?

Since the debate over the ERPO legislation began in spring of 2019, over 50 county sheriffs have come out publicly in opposition to the law as written in Colorado.  Many of them still support the Red Flag concept, but after reading through the legislation that was passed in Colorado, they cannot support it.  Their reasons vary from unconstitutionality, to worry of putting their officers and citizens in harms way, to worry about the abuse that will likely be rampant with the poorly written law.

37 counties have declared Second Amendment Sanctuary status.  What this means varies from county to county.

In addition, the Denver Police Union and Aurora Police Union also opposed the law as written, citing constitutionality.

Constitutional Concerns

2nd Amendment aside, Colorado’s Red Flag law has many constitutional concerns.

The creation of a civil search warrant is a 4th Amendment violation.

The taking of property without due process is a 5th and 16th Amendment violation.

The inability to face your accuser or be heard by an impartial jury is a 6th Amendment violation.

Not to mention the chilling effect it will have on the 1st Amendment.

A constitutional lawsuit cannot be brought forth until someone is “harmed” by the law, meaning until someone is ERPO’d, there is no plaintiff for the case.  Expect to see challenges to this law once it goes into effect January 1, 2020.

 

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Colorado’s Newest Red Flag ERPO Bill Is Worse Than You Think – And Gun Owners Should Be Worried

 

Colorado’s Newest Red Flag ERPO Bill Is Worse Than You Think : Rally for our Rights Colorado

Democrat state lawmakers have introduced a Red Flag Emergency Risk Protection Order (ERPO) bill into the 2019 Colorado legislative session. This bill, HB19-1177, which was introduced Thursday, February 14th, is far worse than a previously introduced bill which died in 2018.  Question everything you hear the media say about this legislation. The devil is in the details.

Here’s the claim of what 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. The longest a judge could order the seizure of firearms is 364 days. The entire process is a civil, not criminal, proceeding.

Now let’s break down the bill language:

Who can petition the courts? 

According to the bill summary and media reports, only family or household members, and law enforcement can petition the courts. But what is the definition of “family member” and “household member”?

According to the bill language, “family or household member” means:

• Person related by blood, marriage, or adoption;

• Person who has a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether such person has been married to the respondent or has lived together with the respondent at any time;

•  Person who regularly resides or regularly resided with the respondent within the last six months;

• Domestic partner of the respondent;

• Person who has a biological or legal parent-child relationship with the respondent, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren;

• Person who is acting or has acted as the respondent’s legal guardian;

• A person in any other relationship described in section 18-6-800.3 (2) with the respondent.  [So, what does 18-6-800.3 (2) say? “Intimate relationship” means a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.]

Say what?!  This is who they define as a “family member” or “household member”?  This person doesn’t need to be either a family member or a household member.  We’re talking scorned ex’s, those pretending to be scorned ex’s, angry former roommates, those in custody disputes, and so on.  And that’s not even touching on law enforcement’s ability to petition for an ERPO.  Co-worker mad?  All they have to do is make a report to the police that you’re a danger to yourself or another, and they can have your firearms confiscated.

What is needed to file the ERPO petition?

The filing of the ERPO petition can be done either in person or over the phone.  The petition must be filed in the county court of where the accused lives – but since the petitioner can do it over the phone, they don’t even need to be in the same state.  There is NO filing fee.  The petitioner even has the option to not provide their address – for safety, of course – never mind the address could simply be left off any actual order as they do with temporary restraining orders.

Questions that will be asked on the petition include how many firearms the accused has, what types, and where the are located.  This doesn’t only include ownership – it also includes possession, custody, or control.  Petitioners are also asked to disclose if there are any other legal actions pending between parties, such as: current restraining orders, lawsuits, civil suits, custody cases, etc, but the existence of such cases shall not delay or prevent an ERPO from being granted.

And finally, no one is required to tell the accused that a petition is being filed or has been filed.

What happens after the ERPO petition is filed?

Once an ERPO is filed, a hearing will be set either the same day or the next day.  Once again, the petitioner does not need to be present. They can attend this hearing over the phone, while never being required to show proof of any relationship to the accused, and not even provide their address!  At this hearing, the petitioner will be asked to provide a “preponderance” of evidence with the goal being to convince the fact finder judge that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true.  Now, remember, this is over the telephone.

What kind of evidence are they looking for?  A recent act or credible threat of violence, even if such act does not involve use of a firearm.  Self harm or threats of self harm within the past year.  A prior violation of a protection order.   A previous ERPO.   Prior domestic violence convictions.  Prior ARREST, not even conviction, of a whole host of other crimes.  Ownership, access to, or intent to purchase a firearm.  Drug or alcohol abuse.  Recent acquisition of a firearm or ammunition.  How do you provide this evidence during a telephone hearing?

At this hearing the court will either approve or deny the ERPO.  If it is denied, they must document reasoning for denial.  Judges will err on the side of caution.  Once the ERPO is approved, a warrant to search the home for weapons is also issued.  All while the only person who has no idea this is happening, is the person being accused of no crime.

How will the ERPO be enacted?

Once the ERPO and warrant are in hand, it’s time for the police to take action.  Considering we see SWAT teams show up to homes where someone is reported to possibly be suicidal, it won’t be pretty.  The county sheriff is required to work with city police.  They will show up at the door without so much as a warning, manually deliver the order, ask the accused to surrender their firearms, and if they refuse or claim to have none, they will search the home.  Honestly, even if firearms are surrendered, they will likely STILL search the home.  Did the petitioner make claim you have firearms at a place of business?  Expect that location to be included on the search warrant.  During this interaction, law enforcement is required to determine if the accused should be put into a 72 hour involuntary commitment hold.

It is not unlikely children, spouses, even co-workers will be present during these raids.

Once the firearms have been confiscated, the accused will be asked if they’d like to sell them, store them with law enforcement, or store them with a FFL.  The accused’s information will also be added to the CBI and NICS database prohibiting them from purchasing guns.

Along with the order that will be delivered upon the accused, a court date for 14 days later is given.  This will be the first opportunity the accused will have to speak on their own behalf.

What happens at the 14 day ERPO hearing? 

Prior to the hearing, the court will appoint an attorney or the accused can obtain their own or they can proceed self represented.  Because no one has been charged with a crime, these are civil cases, not criminal.  This means public defenders are not used, but instead the state would appoint one from a pool of attorneys who have agreed to work these cases.  These are not provided at no cost – unless you qualify as indigent according to the court.  It is unclear what the cost will be.

During this hearing the petitioner and the accused will have the ability to provide evidence, call witnesses, cross examine witnesses, etc.  The petitioner does not need to be present, and can provide sworn affidavits.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will either dismiss the ERPO, and the firearm rights of the accused will be restored and their guns returned.  Or the temporary ERPO will become a permanent ERPO.  This would mean it will remain in effect for 364 days.  The judge has the discretion to schedule hearings sooner than the 364 days if he or she believes the order should be lifted sooner.  The accused also has ONE opportunity during that 364 day period to request a hearing.  If they do request a hearing, the petitioner is alerted and that person can request it be denied.

What happens when the 364 days is up?

Whew, it’s been a long year by this point.  So what happens now?  The petitioner will be alerted that the ERPO is going to expire, and they can request it be extended.  If this happens, another hearing similar to the one at 14 days will take place.  And it begins again…

What are the penalties?

Any person who has in his or her custody or control a firearm or purchases, possesses, or receives a firearm with knowledge that he or she is prohibited from doing so by an ERPO or temporary ERPO is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

What can you do to help stop this? Contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose this legislation.  CLICK HERE for information about who to contact.  

Watch the video below as we go line by line through this 30 page bill and highlight everything stated in this article.

Ready to help us fight this ERPO bill in Colorado?  Donate here

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