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Colorado Senate's top Democrat plans to vote against red flag bill

The top Senate Democrat, President Leroy Garcia, said in a statement that he will vote against the red flag gun control bill, one of his party's chief priorities.

DENVER — The top Democrat in the Colorado Senate will not support the so-called red flag bill - one of his party's chief priorities this legislative session  - when it comes up for a vote.

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) says that while he believes in the bill, he doesn't feel that it has his constituents' support.

"I took a hard look at this bill, and while I strongly believe in its intent of preventing gun violence, this is simply not the right legislation for the people of Pueblo and southern Colorado," he wrote in a statement provided to Next with Kyle Clark from a Senate spokesperson.

He continued, "Make no mistake - As a Marine veteran, I firmly believe that we can work together while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners and addressing the issues at hand. I want to continue working with my colleagues to find a Colorado solution.”

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.

A vote is expected sometime this week. Without Garcia's support, Democrats now have a one-vote margin (18-17) when it comes to passing the bill.

RELATED: Red flag bill: A person who loses their gun has to prove they're no longer a risk to get it back

RELATED: These Colorado counties have declared themselves '2nd Amendment sanctuaries' as Red Flag bill progresses

About half of Colorado's 64 counties have vowed they won't enforce the bill if and when it becomes law. The night before Garcia's announcement, Pueblo decided it wouldn't join those local governments in becoming a "2nd Amendment sanctuary." 

Councilman Mark Aliff introduced the resolution, which was shut down within five minutes after he didn't get a second motion. The public did not have an opportunity to comment on the failed resolution. 

RELATED: The bills we're watching in the 2019 Colorado Legislature

The Pueblo Chieftain was the first to report Garcia's decision.

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