Weld County, CO – Weld County became the latest county in Colorado to pass a resolution that declared itself to be a “Second Amendment sanctuary county.”
The resolution, which was unanimously passed Weld County Board of County Commissioners, permits law enforcement in the county to disregard state gun laws that are deemed “unconstitutional” by the commission and law enforcement, KDVR reported.
Commissioners passed the resolution as new “red flag” gun legislation passed in the State House and was headed to the Colorado State Senate for consideration.
If the “red flag” bill passes, it would will allow family members or law enforcement to petition the court for an order to remove firearms from any person who has been deemed dangerous to themselves or others, according to KDVR.
Fremont, Custer, and Montezuma Counties have already passed similar resolutions that telegraphed their plan to ignore the new gun laws if they’re passed.
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said the “red flag” law would put his deputies in more danger, KDVR reported.
"The way the bill is written is asking me or my agency to go out and affect one of these gun grabs, if you will, without any notification to person that we're coming," Sheriff Reams said. "I think that puts my agency at undo risk."
There are tremendous Second Amendment issues with the impending gun laws, too.
“The issue isn’t an issue of safety as much as it is an issue of protecting the constitutional rights of citizens,” Weld County Commission Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer said in a statement, KDVR reported.
Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway questioned the constitutional issues with the lack of due process created by the bill.
“The principal of due process is at the very core of this issue,” Conway told KDVR. “What this bill does is create a system where a person must defend/prove their innocence against an action that hasn’t even been taken.”
Sheriff Reams agreed that the legislation crossed too many constitutional lines and said they’d do better to focus their efforts on mental health issues.
"I have a duty for public safety but also have a duty to protect the Constitution," the sheriff said.
Weld County Commissioner Steve Moreno was on the same page as the sheriff regarding mental health.
“This bill is nothing more than a feel-good measure that will not stop the actions it is aiming to prevent. There are other solutions that must be seriously considered when talking about mental health issues in this country. This bill is not it,” Moreno said.
The resolution passed by the commissioners promised "support for the Weld County Sheriff in the exercise of his sound discretion to not enforce against any citizen an unconstitutional firearms law," KDVR reported.
It also said the Board of County Commissioners would “not appropriate government funds for capital construction of building space and purchase of storage systems to store weapons seized pursuant to the authority and requirements set forth” if the bill becomes a law.
Sheriff Reams said that he wouldn’t automatically ignore it if a judge granted an extreme risk protection order under the new “red flag” law, KDVR reported.
The sheriff said he would decide how to handle each situation on a case-by-case basis.
Not all Colorado sheriffs are willing to eschew the “red flag” law, some are looking forward to its passage.
Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock testified in support of the bill after one of his deputies was murdered by an armed man who was suffering a mental health crisis, according to KDVR.