Colorado’s “red flag” gun law will go into effect Jan. 1, making the state one of 17 to allow for the temporary removal of firearms from a person a judge deems a danger to themselves or others.
The bill was among the most controversial this past legislative session, and the opposition didn’t stop when the bill was signed into law in April. More than half of Colorado’s counties have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries,” where sheriffs have vowed not to enforce the law, and gun rights groups have already filed lawsuits challenging it.
On Dec. 2, a three-hour CLE program presented by CBA CLE on Extreme Risk Protection Orders helped clear up some of the questions the local legal community has about the new law, while raising several more, many of which the courts will have to answer. The speakers and panelists also gave advice to attorneys interested in representing parties in ERPO cases.
During the first hour of the presentation, Terri Morrison, legal counsel for the Colorado Judicial Department, went over the language of the red flag law and the ERPO petition process.
Under the law, family and household members or law enforcement may petition to have firearms taken away from someone they believe poses a threat. Petitioners may first file for a Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order requiring the respondent to immediately surrender firearms until the court holds a hearing to determine whether to issue an ERPO, which is valid for 364 days. A petitioner can also file for an ERPO without having a TERPO in place. ERPO hearings must be held within 14 days after a TERPO is issued or an ERPO petition is filed.