Colorado constitutional scholar David Kopel today testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary on implementation of “Red Flag” gun confiscation laws in the states. Several U.S. senators, including Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, are exploring the idea of giving federal grants to states to implement such laws.
Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute*, a free market think tank in Denver, and adjunct professor of constitutional law at Denver University’s Sturm College of Law.
“My testimony will urge that funding be given only to states that fully respect due process. Which definitely does not include Colorado’s HB 1177,” said Kopel.
House Bill 1177 is the Colorado version of a “Red Flag” law, rapidly making its way through the legislature. The bill would establish an Extreme Risk Protection Order, or “ERPO,” system to allow police to seize guns from those considered a threat to themselves or others, based on claims from police, roommates, and ex-spouses and other former romantic partners, among others.
Kopel has been a vocal critic of HB 1177, laying out the bill’s many problems in several substantial analyses published on Complete Colorado. Among his concerns are that the bill lacks adequate due process protections, can be used vindictively, and may actually lead to unnecessary violent confrontations between police and subjects of the orders.
Moreoever, as Kopel notes in his testimony, “Nearly a third of such orders are improperly issued against innocent people.”
“States that thwart cross-examination, promote unnecessary no-knock raids, leave innocent victims without a civil remedy for false or malicious petitions, or deny any of the seven core elements of due process should not be rewarded with federal funding,” concludes Kopel.
Kopel’s 27-page written testimony is available here.
Video of the committee hearing is available here.
*Complete Colorado is a project of the Independence Institute.