Lulu Gold: Sheriff must uphold the Red Flag law
In response to the Feb. 27 Steamboat Pilot & Today article that stated that Sheriff Wiggins is skeptical about the Red Flag bill that, whether we agree our not, will very likely pass both chambers of the Colorado Legislature, I offer these comments.
First and foremost, if the Zachari Parrish III Violence Protection Act, the “Red Flag” bill, passes and is signed into law by the Governor, then it becomes just that. It is the oath and duty of our sheriff to enforce the law, not make his own laws, by law, of the state of Colorado. No discrepancy there.
The overwhelming majority of law enforcement, mental health professionals and the civilian population support this bipartisan bill. Colorado has the ninth highest suicide rate in the nation according to the CDC. Geographical isolation, greater access to guns and limited access to mental health services in rural areas all contribute to Colorado’s high rate.
Sheriff Wiggins acknowledges he “supports the concept and justification of the bill.” But let’s not forget that Sheriff Wiggins also joined in a lawsuit in 2013 opposing several gun bills that were ultimately passed and signed into law.
Another contributor to the article claims. “he has proposed collecting names of at-risk patients so he could prevent them from buying guns at his store.” Has he heard of HIPAA, the U.S. legislation that protects an individual’s medical records and personal health information?
Again, that is written law to be followed.
I appreciate that Sheriff Wiggins admits that an extreme risk protection order could avoid a death or injury involving a firearm. Routt County does not just get a hall pass as the opponents of this seem to suggest. If you declare us as a sanctuary county, you can be sued, be held in contempt of court and removed from office.
We are fortunate to live in Routt county where the Second Amendment has always been respected as evidenced by a vibrant Rifle Club and shooting range, an avid hunting community for locals and visitors alike, the ability for ranchers to protect their livestock unconditionally and the concealed handgun permits that are issued daily. This bill is not taking anything away from responsible gun owners.
This is no longer a partisan issue nor is it about the Second Amendment. It is about saving lives, of both civilians and our brave first responders and law enforcement.
How did guns become more precious than human lives, innocent bystanders and those who are in mental crisis? Lives matter. Sensible lawmaking matters, and when this bill passes, I certainly expect Sheriff Wiggins to represent Routt County and to obey the law.
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