Some Colorado sheriffs in open rebellion over 'Red Flag' gun law
Colorado's Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed the controversial "Red Flag" gun bill into law on Friday and several county sheriffs have indicated they won't enforce it. Some are even willing to go to jail for their beliefs.
Known as the "Extreme Risk Protection Order," the law will allow a family member, a roommate or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily seize a person's firearms if they are deemed a risk to themselves or others. Fourteen other states have passed similar legislation.
Still, the law now faces major hurdles, with a pro-gun lobby group promising to challenge it in court. Additionally, a growing number of sheriffs in the state have vowed to ignore the law when it takes effect next year, calling it unconstitutional.
That will be up to the courts. But just because a law is declared "constitutional" doesn't make it right. And several sheriffs are prepared to be held in contempt of court rather than enforce what they see as an attack on the Second Amendment:
At least 10 other sheriffs contacted by CNN are lining up behind Reams, saying they are prepared to go to jail rather than enforce a law they believe would violate a person's constitutional rights.
"How many judges are going to send all the sheriffs in Colorado who are standing up to this to jail?" wondered Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell, who is among the sheriffs willing to choose jail over enforcement.
Garnett said he wasn't concerned about sheriffs being locked up.
"What I'm going to lose sleep over is, if that's the choice that they make, and someone loses their life, someone in crisis goes on a shooting spree, (or) someone commits suicide" because a gun wasn't taken away, he said.
Will it really save lives? What we've seen in recent years is that if a crazy person wants to go on a shooting spree, they will find a way to get a gun. Meanwhile, guns will be seized from innocent people who may or may not be a threat to themselves or others.
Already, 38 of Colorado's 64 counties have officially declared their opposition to the bill, and 35 of them have passed formal resolutions against the law. Many of the resolutions declare the jurisdictions to be Second Amendment "sanctuary" or "preservation" counties, and pledge not to allocate resources to enforcement of the law.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser he is "confident that when and if the time comes, all law enforcement officials will follow the rule of law."
Reams insists he's not bluffing. So does Prowers County Sheriff Sam Zordel.
"I've already asked the coroner if he wanted to come over (to the jail) and get some training," he said, explaining that if he becomes an inmate, the coroner would be tasked with running the county jail.
The issue isn't should crazy people own a gun. The issue is how will enforcement of this law be done in a fair and impartial manner? The petitioner doesn't even have to be a mental health professional. Are we to believe that just because someone is depressed, they're a threat to anyone else?
The potential for abuse of this law is too great. Hopefully the courts will see it that way and strike it down.