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Legal challenge to Red Flag law to be filed in District Court

DENVER–The controversial Red Flag bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis April 12 allowing confiscation of firearms from persons deemed a “substantial risk” to themselves or others is being challenged on legislative procedural and constitutional grounds.

A complaint obtained by Complete Colorado, but not yet filed, by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock representing the House minority caucus, Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, and Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, asks the court to rule that the Red Flag law is “null, void and of no effect.”

Rep. Dave Williams

Citing a provision of the Colorado Constitution requiring bills be read at length on at least two different occasions on the floor of each legislative chamber, the complaint describes how on March 1, the chair of the Committee of the Whole in the House of Representatives refused to have the bill read at length despite a request by Rep. Williams to do so.

Shortly thereafter Rep. Saine made the same request and the chair said the motion “will not be considered.”

In order to waive reading of the bill at length, unanimous consent from all members present is constitutionally required.

The complaint points out that the motions by Williams and Saine “clearly meant that there was not unanimous consent of the members present to dispense with the reading of the bill at length.”

In another dispute over reading bills at length earlier this session, Republicans went to court because the Democrat majority used multiple computers reading different parts of a bill simultaneously, each at 650 words per minute, the maximum speed the program is capable of.

Rep. Lori Saine

In that case, decided March 19, District Court Judge David H. Goldberg issued a preliminary injunction, saying he was “unable to discern a single word from the tape played during the court proceeding” ordering that “the Secretary of the Senate, upon a proper objection, must comply with Const. art. V, §20 and §22 b and employ a methodology that is designed to read legislation in an intelligible and comprehensive manner, and at an understandable speed.”

In his ruling Judge Goldberg, citing an 1889 Colorado Supreme Court case writes, “The object of the requirement that every bill be read at length on two different days in each house is to “prevent, so far as possible, fraud and trickery and deceit and subterfuge in the enactment of bills, and to prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation”… This requirement is mandatory. If either house violates this requirement in enacting a law, the law so enacted is invalid.”

The RMGO complaint says, “At no time was the complete text of HB 1177 read at length in the Colorado House of Representatives.”

No date for filing the complaint has been announced.

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