For Immediate Release
Contact: Eileen McCarron
303-946-6959 or 303-377-7697
DENVER – This afternoon Governor Jared Polis signed HB19-1177 thereby enacting the Extreme Risk Protection Orders law. This law will enable law enforcement and family members to seek court orders to temporarily suspend firearms access to persons who are dangerous to self or others.
The law is named The Deputy Zackari Parrish, III, Violence Prevention Act in memory of Deputy Parrish who died in an ambush on New Year’s Eve 2017. That shooting could have been prevented by an Extreme Risk law as the shooter had been presenting threats to others. His mother had even tried and failed to remove his guns.
Colorado now becomes the 15th state to have this life-saving measure in place. Five Republican governors have signed these measures into law, and about twenty other states are considering similar laws.
Polling data indicate that eight out of ten Colorado voters support the measure, including 68% of Republicans. Additionally, 77% of people in homes with firearms support the Extreme Risk concept.
Sheriff Tony Spurlock remarked on the moral fiber of Deputy Parrish’s parents who only that morning had told him that on “December 31st , there were two families that lost their sons.”
When signing the bill into law, Governor Polis stated “Colorado has endured more than its share of tragedies, and noted that today we remember so many lives that we wish we could have back.”
“We at Ceasefire are elated with the enactment of this life-saving law,” said Eileen McCarron, president of Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action. “We began on this journey with a forum back in May, 2016 and have been advocating for it ever since.”
McCarron also emphasized that despite the rhetoric by those who opposed the bill, Extreme Risk laws are constitutional. “Two such laws have been challenged in other Legislative Action states and ruled to meet constitutional muster,” she said and noted that “these laws are modeled after domestic violence protection orders and have similar due process provisions to those.”
Colorado is a high suicide state (ranking 10th) and Extreme Risk laws have been shown to be an effective tool in suicide prevention. They also provide an additional mechanism to protect the lives of those suffering the abuse of domestic violence.
Representative Tom Sullivan, a prime sponsor of the bill, noted that this is the 351st Friday since his son Alex was murdered in the Aurora Theater. He continued that “today is a monumental day, but when you are the parent of a murdered child, everything is tempered.” Sullivan finished his remarks by saying “We still have more work to do this, is just a start.”
Colorado Ceasefire, an all-volunteer statewide organization, has been working for freedom from gun violence since 2000. Ceasefire initiated and was instrumental in the enactment of the 2013 Colorado firearms laws, which included universal background checks, a high capacity magazine ban, and domestic violence firearms relinquishment. Ceasefire began advocating for an Extreme Risk (red flag) law in 2016. Learn more at www.coloradoceasefire.org
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