El Paso County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday in favor becoming a Second Amendment Preservation County. It’s just the latest of several other counties across the state speaking out against a so-called red flag bill currently in the legislature. The state measure would allow law enforcement to remove firearms from citizens deemed to be a danger to self or others.
Several residents asked the commission to rethink the resolution, citing concerns about the county’s high rate of suicide by firearm and the ability to remove guns from dangerous people in cases of domestic violence. Others applauded the county for standing up for the Constitution and 2nd Amendment, proclaiming the bill as a gun grab and confiscation scheme.
El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said the bill woefully misses the point and doesn't address mental health concerns.
"This bill is not going to take away everyone's guns. It's going to take away the guns that people think should be taken away," he said. "And it's done without probable cause, without a crime, because committing suicide is not a crime."
During public comments, Brenda Kraus, who said she is trained in mental health issues, criticized the commission's focus on the bill’s limited mention of mental health needs.
“Mental health is not an exact science. We cannot prevent all these deaths that you think we can,” Kraus said.
Resident Helen Williams questioned her logic.
“It may not be an exact science and an exact art—then why is this bill hiding behind it?” she asked. “Why is this bill saying, well, mentally disturbed people shouldn’t have guns?”
Commissioners strongly challenged the constitutionality of the bill, including its lack of due process and probable cause. If the bill passes, commissioners pledged to “actively resist the legislation.”