Colorado sheriff says 'red flag' gun bill doesn't address mental health

Gun legislation in Colorado that would allow police to seize firearms from people viewed as threats would do nothing to address the issue of mental health, a sheriff in the state told Hill.TV on Monday.

"I would still have issue with the fact that we're not addressing mental health in the 'red flag' bill that's being passed in Colorado," Steve Reams, the sheriff of Weld County, told hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising" when asked if he would be more comfortable with the law if gun owners were given the chance to defend themselves in court.

"Would it make it more constitutional? I guess the answer would be yes. Again, I think we're sorely missing the point, though, and that's really to address mental health concerns," he said.

The bill, known by some as "red flag" legislation, was passed by the Colorado House last week and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis (D).

The measure would allow a family member, roommate or law enforcement officer to ask a judge to take someone's gun away if they pose a risk to themselves or society.

Reams argued in an op-ed published in The Hill last week that the bill is unconstitutional, and said he would rather go to jail than enforce the measure if it becomes law.

"I publicly took a stand as the red flag bill moved through the legislature that I would not enforce an unconstitutional law and would rather face the penalties for not doing so, even if it landed me in my own jail," Reams wrote. "I didn’t make the statement in jest or as a bluff; I took my stand to defend the citizens of my county from an unlawful overreach by Colorado’s state government."

— Julia Manchester