March 15, 2019
|Denver, CO – The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee today voted 3-to-2 to pass HB19-1177, Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), sponsored by Senators Lois Court (D-Denver) and Brittany Pettersen (D-Jefferson County). ERPO would save lives by allowing family members and law enforcement officers to request a court order to temporarily remove firearms from someone who is deemed a danger to themselves or to others. This bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.|
HB19-1177 is named in honor of Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Zackari Parrish III who was killed on duty in 2017 by an individual whose mental health concerns were well-known to others around him. This legislation would give law enforcement and family members the opportunity to seek a temporary order for someone who appears at risk of dangerous behavior.
“I have sponsored similar legislation in the past, and I will continue to fight for gun violence prevention efforts that will save lives,” said Senator Court, “Extreme risk protections orders are about saving lives, protecting those who are a risk to themselves and others, and keeping our first responders safe. This legislation will give an essential tool to law enforcement to temporarily remove a firearm before warning signs escalate to tragedies.”
“If legislation like this had already been in place, Deputy Zackari Parrish would still be alive today. Deputy Parrish’s murderer was a clear risk to himself and others, but those who knew him lacked the legal protections to act on the threat he posed,” said Senator Pettersen. “Extreme risk protection orders will prevent future tragedies like this in communities across our state. ERPO laws enacted in other states have been proven to be constitutional and have been proven to save lives. It’s time Colorado does more to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people.”
To successfully block firearm access, a petitioner would have to demonstrate a preponderance of evidence that the individual poses a significant threat to themselves or others by possessing a firearm. After a petition is filed, a court would place a temporary order for up to two weeks until a hearing determines whether a full protection order is appropriate. A full protection order could then be approved for up to 364 days.
“What is essential to keep in mind is that HB 19-1177 is designed to save lives and that it will save lives,’ said Attorney General Phil Weiser, who testified before the Senate State, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee in support of HB19-1177. “According to one study that evaluated ERPOs in other states, researchers estimated that one life was saved for every 10 to 20 ERPOs issued by the courts.”
“The Attorney General’s Office has concluded that HB 19-1177 is constitutional… we believe that HB 19-1177, as drafted, is a proper and appropriately drafted regulation that is consistent with the Second Amendment’s requirements. I pledge to you that the Department of Law is committed to doing our part to support the successful implementation of HB 19-1177 when and if it is enacted into law,” added Attorney General Weiser.
The Attorney General’s full testimony can be found here.
This bill went through an extensive stakeholder process with feedback from law enforcement, mental health and gun violence prevention advocates, and legislators. It passed the House of Representatives on third reading 38-to-25. If passed and signed into law, Colorado would be the 15th state to enact ERPO legislation.
For more information on the Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1177.