On February 14th, while we are remembering the seventeen students and educators shot and killed in their high school in Parkland, Florida last year, an Extreme Risk Protection Order bill will be introduced in Colorado.
Extreme Risk laws, which now exist in 13 other states (Florida enacted its version following the Parkland massacre), allow families and law enforcement to seek court orders to remove firearms from a person who is dangerous to self or others. Studies indicate it can be used to reduce suicides, which is important for Colorado (which is a high suicide state) and for veterans and their families. Veterans commit suicide at a far higher rate than the general population.
Colorado’s ERPO is named after Deputy Sheriff Zackari Parrish, III, who was shot and killed a little over a year ago. The shooter in that ambush had been displaying disturbing behaviors. If an ERPO law had existed in Colorado at the time, Parrish’s life might have been saved.
A press conference will be held TOMORROW (February 14th) to announce the bill introduction.
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Place: West Foyer of the State Capitol
Speakers will include bill sponsors Representative Tom Sullivan and Alex Garnett, Sheriffs Tony Spurlock and Joe Pelle, and Jane Dougherty. A message from the Parrish family will also be conveyed.
For Ceasefire, this is an important day on a journey that began in May of 2016 when we hosted a forum with the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence on this very topic. Over 100 professionals from behavioral health fields, law enforcement, prosecutors, legislators and selected members of violence prevention communities attended.
It is expected that the bill will be heard before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 21st (1:30 p.m. in room 271).
ACTION: Please call members of the House Judiciary and encourage them to vote YES on the Extreme Risk (ERPO or red flag) bill.
Mike Weissman, chair, (D-Aurora) 303-866-2942 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leslie Herod, vice-chair (D-Denver) 303-866-2959 email@example.com
Adrienne Benavidez (D-Commerce City) 303-866-2964 adrienne.benavidez.house@
Rod Bockenfeld (R-Watkins) 303-866-2912 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terri Carver (R-Colorado Springs) 303-866-2191 email@example.com
Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley) 303-866-2929 rochelle.galindo.house@state.
Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver) 303-866-2954 serena.gonzales-gutierrez.
Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) 303-866-2947 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dylan Roberts (D-Eagle) 303-866-2923 email@example.com.
Matt Soper (R-Delta) 303-866-2583 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerry Tipper (D-Lakewood) 303-866-2939 email@example.com
For the first time in a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has indicated it will review gun restrictions. The particular case revolves around a New York City ban on transport of handguns outside the city limits. Even though the law is unique to NYC, the announcement still sent shivers down the backs of all gun violence prevention advocates. Two reasons:
- The last time the court made a firearms decision, it overturned 200 years of precedence by recognizing individual gun rights, essentially eliminating the preface clause to the second amendment (A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State …).
- The court now has a very conservative majority. Newest justice Brett Kavanaugh had previously expressed strong support for gun rights. Check out the Washington Post article on the action.
On Valentine’s Day 2018, seventeen students and educators were murdered in their high school by a troubled former student, thereby galvanizing a youth movement advocating for gun violence prevention.
We have heard complaints about the Ascent Schools in Castle Rock and Parker and that they have a policy of arming teachers. Ascent Schools has also applied to the Boulder Valley School District for opening a similar charter school in Lafayette. They have twice been turned down by BVSD, but have appealed to the state School Board for approval. Democratic school board members Val Flores (Denver) and Jane Goff (Jefferson County) voted in the past to have BVSD to reconsider the application. Our concerns:
- We take issue with arming of teachers in schools.
- The school also has requested a waiver from LBGTQ protections.
- The school curriculum is developed by Hillsdale College, and teachers are trained there. Hillsdale College has a reputation for promoting rather right-wing ideologies. (You may have received some of their mailers).
- Right-winger and pro-gun rights advocate John Caldera (Independence Institute) had an outrageous and misleading op-ed in the Denver Post criticizing the BVSD decision. Enough said.
Because this is a quasi-judicial process, the public has been barred from sending comment about the Ascent decision. Nevertheless, you may wish to remember how board members Jane Goff and Val Flores vote on this. We will report back.
The appeal hearing is this Thursday, February 14th.
- Over 1700 Extreme Risk Protection Order were issued last year, largely in Florida and Connecticut, where the life-saving laws are best known. An Extreme Risk bill should be introduced soon in Colorado.
- There are Lori Saines all over the place. A record 4239 guns were seized at U.S. airports last year. Most were loaded. Usual excuse: I forgot. (Rep. Lori Saine (R-RMGO*) spent the night inthe Denver jail in December 2017 after forgetting her gun was in her purse.) By the way, how many reminders do you see at the airport that guns are not allowed? And just why are we all waiting in those long lines to get through security?
- Parking Lot Suicides: Veterans are committing suicide in the parking lots of VA medical centers. Frustrated with poor VA care, some veterans are making their final act a protest. This report states that the ratio of suicides of veterans to the general population is now at 1.5 (not twice, as was stated in a previous email).
- Denver homicides climbed in 2018 to a 14-year high. Firearms accounted for 3/4 of the homicides (Please share this fact with Senator Vicki Marble (R-RMGO*), who contends that knives and blunt objects are largely responsible.)
Democrats took the reins in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, January 3 and are immediately taking action on addressing gun violence. This coming Tuesday, January 8th, on the 8th anniversary of the Tucson shooting of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Democrats will introduce a proposal for universal background checks. Giffords will join Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Mike Thompson in introducing the bill. Learn more here.
More than 4 million children endured lock downs last school year, a groundbreaking Washington Post analysis found. The experience left many traumatized.Read the story here.
‘The World Moves On And You Don’t.’
Parents Who Lost Children in School Shootings Find Comfort in a Group No One Wants to Join’ Read the Time article here.
Although Ceasefire is an all-volunteer organization, we do contract with a lobbyist to assist us in our advocacy at the capitol. Because of the highly successful elections, we anticipate a number of proactive gun violence prevention proposals this coming session, including ERPO (red flag), which Ceasefire spearheaded this past year. More bills translate into higher lobbying costs. Your assistance in this is crucial to making Colorado safer. You can donate to Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action by clicking here or by mailing your donation to Colorado Ceasefire Legislative
Armed and aging: A conversation about seniors, dementia and the right to bear arms…
University of Colorado Medical School study just released Monday find the number of adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia is steadily increasing, but questions around their access to firearms remain largely unaddressed. The study finds firearms are the most common method of suicide among people with dementia, but it explores other serious concerns with firearm possession and dementia. People with dementia can experience hallucinations, delusions, aggression and paranoia, and the study’s lead author, Dr. Emmy Betz with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, found many older adults have access to guns.
We welcome your ideas, your participation, and your support! Postal Address: Colorado Ceasefire P.O. Box 7501 Denver, CO 80207
Telephone: 303-380-6711 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org