EDITORIAL: Despite opponents’ dramatics, ‘red-flag’ gun-safety bill is sound, in demand and overdue


Don’t confuse clamor and histrionics from Colorado gun-safety opponents with solid opposition to a critical red-flag gun bill poised to finally become law.

An Associated Press poll released Saturday confirms what most Colorado residents and lawmakers have long known: A strong majority of Americans want stronger gun-control laws.

In Colorado, it appears we’re finally going to get one.

That’s despite years of obstruction and opposition by key Republican lawmakers who refused to even allow all state lawmakers to vote on plans like House Bill 1177, creating extreme risk protection orders.

The bill would allow family or police to provide evidence to a court that a gun-owner has critical psychological problems and should be separated from their firearms and ammunition. A judge would have to weigh the evidence and determine whether someone’s behavior warrants intervention.

If it’s difficult to see why that’s a bad idea, it’s because it’s not.

Police officials from across the state have supported this measure, seeing the wisdom in getting lethal weapons out of the hands of critically mentally ill and unstable people.

If the measure is enforced, it could save the lives of family members in the home, strangers in malls, children in schools, police officers on the street and the gun owners themselves.

Regardless, flailing opponents of the measure have tried repeatedly, again, to thwart the bill with threats to not enforce it, misinformation, disinformation, delaying stunts and outright deception.

What critics can’t dismiss, however, are the facts.

The facts are, mentally ill people with access to guns have wantonly killed dozens, if not hundreds, of people over the past few decades in Colorado, including Aurora.

Had laws existed permitting and prompting people to call police and report dangerous behavior by people who are known to have firearms, untold lives might have been saved by simply making a phone call.

More important, breathless gun-safety critics are just completely wrong saying the public supports their opposition and obstruction. An astounding 67 percent of Americans polled recently — before and after the New Zealand massacre — want stronger gun-control laws.

Colorado’s red-flag bill is nothing more than common sense that respects the rights of all gun owners while ensuring that people who are psychologically impaired are protected from themselves, and that the public is protected from them.

When trying to balance the right to own guns, and the rights of others not to be killed by them, it’s clear that gun ownership rights must take second place.

Don’t be distracted nor impressed by the disruptive din from a smattering of vocal critics. Many of these opponents have unshakable connections to organizations like the NRA and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who will never settle for any restrictions on gun ownership and gun use.

Despite the drama, HB 1177 does not imperil Second Amendment rights. It’s just a sensible way to remove lethal weapons from people who demonstrably put at risk their own lives and those of others.