DENVER — Based on the makeup of the Colorado State Senate, it was inevitable that the red flag legislation moved forward Friday.
A Senate debate lasted hours and continued into the evening before it was approved to advance on a voice vote. At least four Republican Senators left for the day during the debate, so their votes were not included. Another formal vote, which could happen Friday, is needed before the bill move on.
The bill would allow a judge to order someone's weapons to be temporarily seized if they are deemed a risk to themselves or others. The legislation would also allow family or law enforcement to seek a court order to have guns seized if they believe the owner is a threat. If approved, a subsequent court hearing would be held to determine whether to extend the seizure, up to 364 days.
The bill also would require anyone whose guns are seized to prove that he or she no longer poses a risk in order to get them back.
People at home have been able to feel the tension between Democrats and Republicans in Colorado since the start of the legislative session. For a refresher:
- One of the bill's sponsors - Tom Sullivan, whose son died in the Aurora theater shooting - publicly called out Republicans for not standing with him at the bill's introductory press conference.
- Counties across Colorado have passed resolutions stating they won't enforce the bill if it becomes law, including Douglas County, where the Republican sheriff who supports the bill has become the face of the legislation.
- Republicans in the Senate demanded that bills be read in full to slow the Democrat-controlled legislature from passing their bills so quickly this session.
And coming soon, all the political theater happening inside the Colorado State Capitol might end up in a theater near year.
"In October, when we started in the development phase of the documentary, we decided to focus on Colorado and the gun politics and the gun debate in Colorado itself," said Tom Donahue, who is directing a documentary on gun violence in America. "We've been shooting about 10 days every month since December."
Donahue has had cameras at every event at the Capitol. From the Feb. 20 introductory news conference with Sullivan announcing the bill, to the multiple committee hearings and now the Senate debate. The bill has already passed through the House.
"The interviews have ranged anywhere from one-and-a-half hours to four hours," said Donahue. "Many, many hundreds of hours we will have by the time we're done with this."
He said he has interviews with gun control groups, supporting lawmakers and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, as well as Dudley Brown, the head of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, Republican Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley) and 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler.
"For us, the issue is much deeper than who is right or wrong about this bill, it goes to America and its love of firearms and how far back that goes in our history," said Donahue. "It's not even just a movie about guns, it's a movie about Democracy in action."
Most recently, Donahue directed This Changes Everything, a documentary released in 2018 about sexism in Hollywood.
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