Denver District Court judge dismisses lawsuit on Colorado Red Flag gun law

A Denver District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging how Colorado’s controversial red flag gun law was passed.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, along with Colorado House Republicans Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, Rep. Lori Saine of Firestone and Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs, sued Gov. Jared Polis over House Bill 19-1177. They alleged it shouldn’t have passed last year because it violated the Colorado Constitution’s “reading requirement” when Williams’ and Saine’s requests to have it read at length were denied or not considered.

The constitution calls for bills to be read at length unless “dispensed with upon unanimous consent of the members present.”

The red flag law took effect Jan. 1 and allows judges to temporarily remove firearms from people who are believed to be at high risk of harming themselves or others. Supporters say it will decrease shootings and suicides, but opponents have called it an unconstitutional infringement on their Second Amendment rights.

The Republicans asserted that House Democrats used unconstitutional and illegal tactics to push the bill forward, which Democrats have disputed.

The lawsuit wasn’t about whether their Second Amendment rights were being violated, rather alleged that the House violated the state constitution when it passed the bill, District Court Judge Eric Johnson noted in his order.

Gun rights groups have previously said they would pursue other lawsuits related to the constitutionality of the law.

However, Johnson wrote in his order, the lawsuit doesn’t claim Democrats ignored House rules in place or that the procedures used ignored the unanimity clause of the constitutional reading requirement. Instead, the lawsuit states that requests by Williams and Saine were denied.

So, Johnson concluded, because the case isn’t about whether the House fulfilled specific constitutional mandates but instead about how it fulfilled its constitutional obligations, he was dismissing it.

In March, a Denver District Court judge sided with Senate Republicans who had sued over Democrats using computers to speed-read a bill, and that case is being appealed.

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