This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 15, 2019:
More than half of Colorado’s county sheriffs are on record opposing the Red Flag (ERPO) bill signed into law by Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Friday. One of them went a very large step further: He posted the reasons for his opposition to it in a carefully crafted, thoughtfully drawn six-page statement on his Facebook page.
Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek wrote that, under the new law to be effective January 1, 2020:
A household/family member could petition the court for an order requiring the Respondent to immediately surrender all firearms and any concealed carry permit. A law enforcement agency could also petition the court for a search warrant, based upon presumptive criminal acts.
Upon a judge’s order, without notice, or the accused’s ability to defend charges, his property is taken away. Imagine … their first awareness of an issue is when police arrive at their home stating that they represent the government and are there to confiscate their guns.
It’s not hard to imagine how that could elicit conflict, which could easily escalate to a physical encounter, as the defendant attempts to protect their property, placing deputies in immediate danger.
This was the story of Gary Willis, as covered by The New American. Awakened early one morning by sheriff’s deputies from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Willis answered the door “with a gun in his hand,” according to a department spokesman. According to that spokesman, Willis put his firearm down to read the ERPO but then, apparently recognizing that it wasn’t a legal search warrant issued by a judge in accordance with protections guaranteed to him by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but instead was issued by a local judge under Maryland’s newly minted “red flag” law, he retrieved his firearm.
The spokesman said that Willis “became irate.” In the melee that followed, one of the firearms carried either by one of the deputies, or by Willis, went off. One of the officers then shot Willis dead.
The problems with Colorado’s new law are the same as those with Maryland’s, wrote van Beek: