The red flag bill again thrusts Colorado’s sheriffs into the gun debate — with legal questions, strong emotions and Facebook letters

The red flag bill again thrusts Colorado’s sheriffs into the gun debate — with legal questions, strong emotions and Facebook letters

Gun Rights

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin waves to coworkers at his office in Cortez, Colorado, on March 11, 2019. (The Colorado Sun) For Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin, House Bill 1177 is indeed a red flag — a warning for just how far Colorado is from enacting meaningful mental health legislation. That, he believes, should be where the discussion and energy is focused. Not on guns. Instead, the measure has roused the same partisan and pro-gun/anti-gun battles that have marked previous legislative attempts to grapple with gun violence. He and the 63 other county sheriffs in Colorado again find themselves in the middle of the gun debate and are being asked by constituents and others about where they stand. Are you going to let them take our guns? Don’t you want to save lives? Would you defy a court order? Well, no. And yes. And maybe. As with most debates involving guns, the debate over the so-called red flag bill often veers into hyperbole and arouses strong feelings. The split over it is generally along party and rural/urban lines. But not entirely. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, a Republican, supports the bill and believes Deputy Zackari Parrish III might be alive if such a law had been in place in 2017 when he was shot by a man in the midst of a mental health crisis. On Tuesday, his county commissioners rebuked him by passing a resolution . They also threatened to withhold money from Spurlock if he tries to […]

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