Taking Guns Out of the Hands of Coloradoans With Mental Health Issues
A new law has been introduced in the Colorado legislature aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people who have mental health issues.
House Bill 1436 was introduced this week with less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session.
Basically, the bill allows someone to petition the court for a temporary (6-month) extreme risk protection order (ERPO) against a mentally unstable person. Evidence must be presented that the person poses a "significant risk to self or others by having a firearm in their possession or control. The ERPO would prohibit, though not necessarily prevent, the person from having a firearm in their possession for a period of six months.
Beyond that, there would be a series of hearings to determine if the ERPO should be continued, as well as at what point it should be terminated.
I have my doubts that this bill will make it through the legislature, even though the governor has expressed his support. How effective it would be in reducing gun violence is unclear, but at least it is an attempt to do something about the growing problem of gun violence in America.
There are no easy answers in this issue, but it seems to me that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. We can talk about the problem until we are blue in the face, but until there is some action behind our words, those words are as empty as a black hole in space.
With the legislative session wrapping up next week, lawmakers will have to work fast to make something happen, which makes it seem even more unlikely a bill of this nature will pass.