DENVER — More counties are adding themselves to this list. As of March 11, they include:
- Kit Carson
- Rio Blanco
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Eight local governments and counting have declared themselves “2nd Amendment sanctuaries” as state lawmakers continue pushing a new gun control measure through the Colorado legislature.
Custer, Fremont, Kiowa, Montezuma, Otero, Weld, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties adopted resolutions in response to the Red Flag bill, which has been passed by the Colorado House.
The bill essentially allows for a judge to order someone’s guns be taken away if they’re considered to be a risk. The person would have to prove they’re no longer a threat to have their guns returned to them.
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has been vocal about his opposition. The Board of Weld County Commissioners unanimously passed its resolution Wednesday.
“The very last choice I’d use in one of those situations is the use of a red flag law,” he told Next with Kyle Clark. “I’m going to go a different route any chance that I can.”
Through the resolution, the commissioners said they would not put money toward building a storage facility for weapons seized by law enforcement. Additionally, the commissioners said they will support Sheriff Reams if he decides not to enforce the bill if it becomes a law.
WATCH: Answering legal questions about 2nd Amendment sanctuaries
The commissioners cited a desire to protect constitutional rights for their action.
This is a hypothetical scenario for now, but the bill is likely to become law with Democrats in control of the legislature and in the top offices of state government.
If it does, and sheriffs refuse to follow judges' orders to seize someone's guns when that person is deemed dangerous, consequences for the sheriff could follow. Sheriffs would be asked to take red flag requests from citizens to judges. If they refuse, they could get sued. If a judge issues a gun seizure order, and the sheriff refuses to enforce it, the judge could haul the sheriff in and hold them in contempt.
"There might be some very contentious conversations,” Reams said.
Conservative sheriffs similarly vowed not to enforce 2013 laws against high-capacity ammunition magazines. In that situation, however, judges weren't sending law enforcement into homes to look for magazines. This bill calls for sheriffs to get proactively involved on both the front side, taking red flag petitions to judges, and on the back side, in terms of seizing guns.
Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, supports the Red Flag bill. His spokesman, Lawrence Pacheco, says knows about the challenge posed by sheriffs refusing to enforce the bill if it becomes law.
“He is aware of the issues and is studying them,” Pacheco said.
Some Next viewers have asked why a sheriff could face contempt charges for refusing gun seizures, but leaders of immigration sanctuary cities wouldn't face similar sanctions. The difference is that immigration detainer requests aren't mandatory court orders. Sanctuary cities often tell ICE to secure a judicial order if they want the local governments to comply. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper have both expressed that sentiment.
Other counties in Colorado are expected to enact similar “2nd Amendment sanctuary” resolutions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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