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Colorado Senate passes red flag bill by one-vote margin

The Colorado Senate has passed a controversial red flag bill by a one vote margin following a lengthy debate.

DENVER — The Colorado State Senate passed a contentious red flag bill by a margin of one vote Thursday afternoon.

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) voted against the legislation, but never took the mic to explain the reasoning behind doing so. This is not a surprise: the Pueblo Democrat said earlier this week that while he personally supports the bill, he doesn’t feel that it has support from his constituents.

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Under HB19-1177, a family member, household member or law enforcement officer can petition the court to have someone's guns taken away. The complainant would have to present evidence to a judge that shows the person is a risk to themselves or others.

About half of Colorado's 64 counties have vowed they won't enforce the bill if and when it becomes law. 

The "extreme risk protection order" bill is named for Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish III, who was shot and killed by a suspect with a known history of mental illness and hostility toward law enforcement. 

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Opponents of the bill claim that it violates the Second Amendment and that it makes suspects "guilty until proven innocent." 

A section of the bill mandates that a person who has their gun taken away would need to prove their innocence to get their weapon back. 

The Colorado House passed the red flag bill late last month by a vote of 38-25. 

The bill is backed by numerous gun control groups, including one founded by former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was severely wounded in a 2011 shooting, and survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. 

The bill is now headed back to the Colorado House, which will approve changes made by the Senate. 

Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) will get the bill after that.

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