With around 30 hours before the end of Colorado’s 2019 legislative session, Republican lawmakers stood side-by-side with representatives from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners as the organization announced its lawsuit to stop the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, which was passed and signed earlier this year.
“If the judge agrees with us, the Constitution will throw this bill out and effectively kill the Red Flag Bill,” said Dudley Brown, the executive director with RMGO.
Gov. Jared Polis is named as the defendant in the case as his official capacity as the state’s chief executive.
House Bill 19-1177 would allow family members, or anyone living with another person, to request a court order to take that person’s guns away if they think that person is a risk to themselves or others. That person could then make the case to get their firearms back.
While RMGO has problems with the Second Amendment and due process rights, that is not what this particular lawsuit is about.
“Democrats used illegal and unconstitutional tactics and methods to push a bill that would remove due process rights of our citizens,” Brown said. “In other words, they violated due process on both ends.”
Brown promised legal action will be taken based on their other constitutional concerns as well.
Barry Arrington, legal counsel for RMGO, cites state statute, which reads that if any lawmaker wants a bill to be read full length, the bill must be read in its entirety.
During a press conference where the lawsuit was announced, RMGO showed this video showing that a lawmaker requested the bill to be read, but it was not read at length.
“If any legislator, any of the 100 legislators, stands up and says, ‘Read this bill at length,’ it is absolutely mandatory that the bill is read at length,” Arrington said. “There is no wiggle room. There is no compromise. It is a requirement of the fundamental law of Colorado.”
While Brown said he doesn’t yet want to disclose the details of other lawsuits, he does say the legal argument is easier to make, with Democratic leadership breaking protocol during the passage of the bill.
“Legislation is an obstacle course and has to get through a whole bunch of obstacles, and sometimes they are unseen obstacles, and in this case, the Democrats didn’t see that they were violating the Constitution in to pass a bill that violates the Constitution,” Brown said.
Democratic leadership disagrees with both arguments RMGO makes about the unconstitutionality of the bill. Rep. Alec Garnett, a Democrat who represents Denver, says extreme risk protection order legislation in other states has been upheld against Second-Amendment lawsuits before.
“I’m a little surprised that it’s based on the decorum in the House and how the floor is running,” Garnett said. “It was a long debate. I thought it was a respectful debate. No one questioned me, as a majority leader who is in charge of the floor, how the debate was going.”
RMGO also said they are actively participating in the recall of nine state lawmakers over the bill and other pieces of legislation. The recall efforts include Rep. Tom Sullivan, who helped sponsor the bill because he lost his son in the 2012 Aurora theatre shooting.