Colorado sheriff warns ‘red flag’ gun laws could put officers at risk

A Colorado sheriff on Monday warned that gun legislation in the state allowing law enforcement to seize firearms from people who are viewed as threats could put law enforcement officers at risk.

The bill, known as “red flag” legislation, would allow a family member, roommate or law enforcement officer to ask a judge to take someone’s gun away if they are deemed to pose a risk to themselves or society.

“That’s the issue. If this ex parte hearing happens, and a judge rules that a person can’t control their weapons, at that same hearing, the judge can also issue a search warrant based on the information of the affiant, or the person asking for the order,” Steve Reams, the sheriff of Weld County, told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.” 

“That’s where this bill sorely goes awry because it asks law enforcement, or actually it demands law enforcement to go conduct a search warrant on the word of a third party and seize someone’s firearms,” he continued. 

“That’s asking for a host of issues, and quite frankly, it’s putting my officers in a position where I don’t think it’s safe for them either,” he said. “In my mind, that’s a clear violation of the Constitution on the Fourth and Fifth amendments.” 

Reams wrote 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.

— Julia Manchester