Yesterday evening, CBS’ 60 Minutes began with a segment on the Red Flag Law going into effect on January 1, 2020, in Colorado.
Most of the segment was devoted to two areas:
- The shooting of Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish on New Year’s Eve 2017, while trying to place a troubled man on a mental health hold. Parrish was shot 11 times; he was 29. The Douglas County Sheriff, Tony Spurlock, is a supporter of the Red Flag Law. Other deputies were shot during that altercation.
- In many other Colorado counties, sheriffs have decided to not enforce the new law, claiming their jurisdictions are “sanctuary counties” to support the Second Amendment of the nation’s constitution.
These Red Flag Laws also are known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO’s). According to Ballotpedia, which tracks so many legal issues, elections, and just about anything else, describes the Red Flag Laws, and the ERPO’s, in this manner:
“Extreme risk protection orders, also known as red flag laws, gun violence restraining orders, or ERPOs, authorize family members, household members, and law enforcement officers to petition a court to restrict an individual’s access to firearms. If the court finds that the person presents a danger to him- or herself or others, the person must surrender his or her firearms to law enforcement officials and is prohibited from buying, selling, or possessing firearms for a certain amount of time. Five states had extreme risk protection order laws prior to 2018. During the 2018 sessions, eight states enacted legislation and another two states considered bills.”
That final sentence alludes to the Colorado law.
The 60 Minutes segment walked a pretty straight line. My opinion is that this program is an intelligent way to end a weekend.
But the thought of saving someone’s life – the target of a shooter, or a person thinking about taking his/her life – seems like an important step forward for this state. I’m sure the law will continue to stir discussion, but saving lives should be at the top of the list.
Below are many links – and there could have been a zillion more of them. First is the link to the 60 Minutes segment, followed by the Ballotpedia information, and then a 9News report in February 2018 on the autopsy on Parrish and on the shooter, who will not be named here. After that, links lead to other stories.
The red flag gun bill is now law in Colorado. But that doesn’t mean all the questions around it are answered.
Q&A: Why Republican Sheriff Tony Spurlock keeps fighting for Colorado’s red flag law