25 people spoke for the bill, only 10 spoke against it.
Sen. Owen Hill indicated that he feels that when law enforcement went to retrieve firearms it would incite an ambush like occurred in Highlands Ranch. He was unconvinced by Sheriff’s Spurlock’s explanations of how retrievals are done. Nor have no such incidents occurred in other states which have had ERPO-type laws for a number of years.
Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg kept searching for rationale for voting against the bill, questioning the sheriff on how many times his requests for search warrants were denied and noting that only 10 of 86 California orders went beyond temporary as an indication that weapons were incorrectly seized, not that the subject of the protectin order got their life struggles sorted out.
Sen. Marble continued in her habit of using totally erroneous data to justify her choices. This time she questioned why firearms were the focus of the bill, when more murders were committed with knives, hammers, and rocks. Sen. Marble, let us be clear. In 2016, 69% of homicides in Colorado were committed with firearms.
Sen. Marble queried why the bill didn’t include mental health treatment, overlooking that 1) ERPO’s aren’t necessarily for mentally ill, but for those who are a danger to themselves and others, and 2) Colorado constitution requires bills be single issue.
Jake Viano, Denver Republican chair, indicated the gun retrievals would be bloodbaths.
Dudley Brown, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, indicated Colorado’s proposed law was one of the worst (even after many compromises were made). He insisted this is a firearms bill, and waved to the audience saying “Look at this room – these are the people who testified in 2013.” Brown was wrong yet again, the majority of the advocates in the room were not involved in the movement when the 2013 laws were passed. Then he said “Many are on the payroll of Michael Bloomberg.” Numerous speakers who got up later noted they were volunteers, or that they did not receive a check from Bloomberg.
Most troubling were the testimonies of numerous individuals who told of a family member struggling with mental health issues and having shot and killed others or themselves. Three speakers told of currently being frightened of or for a father, son or a neighbor.
Mary Blegen with Ceasefire noted that studies done in Connecticut and Indiana were largely done on suicides, where there is a larger set of data. In Connecticut, it is estimated by academic researchers that for every 10-20 ERPO’s, one person’s life was saved from suicide.
Evan Davis from NeverAgainCO noted that the Florida (Republican Governor and legislature) passed an ERPO-type law after the high school massacre in Parkland.
Mary Parker asked the pertinent question of the debate: How did guns come to be more precious than lives?
In her summary statement, Sen. Marble shared that ten people in her family have committed suicide, three in the last year, and that people can come to this issue with different views. We wonder: perhaps the problem IS all the guns.