A strong law
On Feb. 3, several Colorado Republicans introduced a bill that seeks to repeal Colorado’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO or “red flag”) law. The move likely stems from complaints that ERPO violates the Second Amendment, but the law contains the following procedural safeguards:
Every ERPO request requires a hearing. The judge can issue a temporary ERPO following a hearing without the respondent present. That order can only remain in place for 14 days. After that, the judge must conduct a second hearing with the respondent present. The longest an ERPO can remain in effect is 364 days. After that, if the order is to continue then the judge must hold another hearing in order to renew the ERPO for a period not to exceed a year. At any time while the ERPO is in effect, the respondent can ask for early termination.
In short, the procedure contemplates multiple hearings, up to three in a year, before a neutral party: a judge. Those who would provide false information in order to obtain an ERPO can be criminally prosecuted. Respondents subject to an ERPO proceeding can obtain a lawyer at government expense unlike hundreds of thousands of Coloradans facing drivers’ license revocations, termination of parental rights and evictions.
Similar laws around the country have withstood challenges to constitutionality. Colorado’s red flag law, too, is strong enough to survive a constitutional challenge.
Catie Kannenberg, Castle Rock
Lillian Alves, Centennial
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