Garfield County clarifies resolution on red flag gun bill
A resolution signed by the Garfield County commissioners Monday does not make the county a “sanctuary” in response to the state’s “red flag” gun legislation, but does declare it as a “Second Amendment Preservation County.”
Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution in response to the likely signing of the red flag bill into law by Gov. Jared Polis.
The legislation, known as HB 19-1177, recently passed by the Democrat-controlled Colorado House of Representatives.
If signed into law, it would create the ability for a family, household member or law enforcement officer to petition the court to remove firearms from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The commissioners and Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario opposed the bill. They say the provisions allowing the removal of guns by judge’s order could be misused and infringe on the right to bear arms provided under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The resolution also serves as a basis for Garfield County to join other counties in filing a future legal challenge, according to a press release issued by the county on Tuesday.
“There are clear grounds on this document to set up an injunction or a lawsuit against this statute that the governor may sign,” Vallario said before the county commissioners on Monday. “That’s our legal process.”
According to the release, the resolution also affirms the commissioners’ support of the sheriff’s enforcement decisions. It notes that the commissioners will not appropriate funds that infringe on the Second Amendment.
“It’s important to talk about what form of government a county is, and what powers we have,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said in the release.
“We are a statutory government. So when we pass a resolution here, the authority it has is as a recommendation, but it doesn’t become a law.”
County Attorney Tari Williams noted that a statutory government only has powers as provided by the state.
“The county is considered an arm of the state,” she said.
Added Commissioner John Martin, “We must adhere to the rules of the state, and can make them more stringent, but not lessen them.”
Jankovsky also said the resolution is not intended to provide “sanctuary” from enforcement of the law, as some Colorado counties opposed to the legislation have declared.
“We want preservation of the Constitution of the United States of America, and part of that is the Second Amendment,” he said.
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