Colorado seized its first firearm from a citizen just one day after the new “red flag” law went into effect.
Denver police used the law to keep a gun they had already confiscated from a Colorado man accused of beating his wife and threatening to harm himself. The police got approval from a judge to hold onto two handguns in a petition that was made public this week, The Washington Post reported.
Red flag laws first began being passed in 1999, when Connecticut enacted the first one in U.S. history. The laws give police officers and courts the ability to confiscate or hold onto firearms that belong to someone they deem a credible threat to themselves or others. While some studies have shown the laws reduce violence, second amendment activists have argued the laws are an overt infringement on the right to bear arms.
This incident began when Denver police were called to an apartment complex on December 29. A 26-year-old was threatening to “off” himself and had allegedly gotten into a fight with his wife and sister. The man’s wife said he attempted to strangle her and had “brandished a gun during the altercation,” according to The Washington Post report.
A day after Colorado's new law took effect, a Denver man attempted to strangle his wife, brandished a gun at her, and threatened suicide.— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) January 8, 2020
Police got an extreme risk protection order from a judge and confiscated his guns.
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Police found a 9mm gun in the man’s waistband during a search. Once they confiscated it, the man also turned over a .45-caliber Springfield handgun that was inside his home. In the petition filed to the court, investigators said the man told them he was “contemplating doing something bad to myself” and said it was a “good thing they stopped me because it was not good.”
Citing those statements, the petition says the man was a credible threat, and that if a judge approves, they could hold his gun for nearly a year.
When the red flag laws passed in Denver last April, it sparked a huge debate across the country and in Colorado. Dozens of sheriffs in Colorado said they would act as “Second Amendment sanctuaries” and promised gun owners they would ignore the measure, calling it unconstitutional.
“This is the first one to my knowledge, but there are possibly others,” Colorado Judicial Department spokesman Jon Sarché told The Denver Post.