Colorado Fiscal Analysis Assumes 'Red Flag' Gun Grabs Will Be Allowed 95% Of Times

P. Gardner Goldsmith | January 6, 2020

This is a different kind of ugly in a beautiful state blessed with natural wonders. And as one reads about it, please consider the centuries-old lineage of fundamental human rights that have been established in Western history and are supposed to be off-limits to U.S. governments.

As Reason’s Jacob Sollum reports, the legislature of Colorado cares about people so much, it just did a fiscal analysis of the expected costs for implementing its new “Extreme Risk Protection Order,” or “Red Flag,” statute that will strip them of their rights, and which just took effect at the start of 2020.

And the noble politicians and their faceless number-cruncher team:

…projects that police and "family or household members" will use it to seek gun confiscation orders against people they portray as threats to themselves or others about 170 times a year. The analysis also assumes that 95 percent of those petitions will be granted…

That’s 95 percent of the times the Red Flag orders will be executed, locking 162 targeted citizens away from their inherent right to keep and bear arms, taking their property, and threatening them with jail and armed confrontations if they do not comply. All without trial, without habeas corpus hearings, and without even an appearance in a real court to offer their own defense.

All without any hint of an accusation of criminal activity.

This authoritarian statute -- so completely antithetical to every fundamental foundation of the U.S. governmental and legal system, so obnoxiously contrary to the wellspring of Natural Rights and Common Law upon which the U.S. legal system was built -- is expected to be employed by agents of the state to literally deprive nearly 162 people of their rights annually, even as they demand tax cash to pay for the targeting of those very taxpayers.

It’s like using slave labor to make the whips to threaten them and construct the jail cells to cage them should they be unruly. 

This is shocking and insulting. At 95 percent, this expected rate of “granted and executed” gun grabs is far higher than the U.S. conviction rate between 1973 and 2015 for motor vehicle theft, murder, burglary, assault, and for all felony defendants whose cases were tracked for one year.

It’s 25 percent higher than the established Colorado felony conviction rate from 2006 to 2011, inclusive, for cases that went to court.

The monumentally important point there being that the accused were afforded their rights to habeas corpus hearings if they requested, they were allowed to appear in court, and they were actually accused of crimes.

If this does not alert people to the fact that targets in “Red Flag” attacks are not being afforded what’s been understood as due process for centuries and has been supposedly mandated in the Bill of Rights, one wonders what will get people concerned. If this doesn’t wake people up to the fact that “Red Flag” statutes punish non-criminals, then one wonders if such people can ever be awaken.

Perhaps if there were a gender pronoun misuse on the part of government, some folks would pay closer attention?

It’s true that Colorado’s “Red Flag” statute allows those who’ve had their arms taken to try to work in the court system to get them back sooner than the one-year “confiscation” (i.e. government STEALING) period stipulates. But this is not a real court process. It’s a bureaucratic process that runs contrary to the legacy of American jurisprudence. Guilty-until-proven-innocent is not within the American constitutional framework.

Additionally, as Sullum notes:

Colorado's law allows a long list of people to seek what it calls ‘extreme risk protection orders’ (ERPOs), including anyone related to the respondent by blood, marriage, or adoption; anyone who has produced a child with the respondent; and current or former spouses, domestic partners, girlfriends, boyfriends, and housemates. 

That opens the Pandora’s Box to accusations of “risk” by all of those listed above who might have a personal animus against the accused, who might want to use the government of Colorado to damage someone’s reputation and trip up his or her life – not to mention put the accused at greater risk of bodily injury, home invasion, car theft, or any other property or person-on-person crime -- for at least a year.

It’s time people hear the alarm. It’s time to wake up.

Stop dreaming this is America and that the Bill of Rights means anything to many people in politics.

Especially those in Colorado’s legislature who supported, and now look forward to, the implementation of this brutally anti-rights statute.