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El Paso County Sheriff receives death threats over red flag law policy

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder is getting backlash, including death threats, after the office's Red Flag law policy was released last week.

"People need to take a chill and read our policy and understand our policy is based on sound constitutional doctrine. We believe we are completely right where we are," said Sheriff Bill Elder.

He calls their policy conservative and different from other local agencies.

"The biggest difference is we will not execute searches or seizures of firearms, absent a warrant."

Elder says his office will enforce an order if it comes from the court, but an Extreme Risk Protection Order will not be initiated by any of his deputies.

"We will serve a civil order as directed by the court. That order is based on what a judge, the information delivered to a judge in court that generates the temporary or extreme risk protection order."

Regardless of how an Extreme Risk Protection order comes to his office, he says his deputies won't be searching for firearms like other agencies might.

"If we are standing in someone's living room and there is a firearm sitting next to them, if we serve them at the grocery store and they've got one on their hip, we're supposed to seize those," he says.

The next step, Sheriff Elder says, is up to the person receiving the order.

"Then the respondent decides how do I want to dispose of my firearm, if they say, 'I want to transfer it legally to a federal firearms holder,' they're allowed to do it. If they want us to store it, we'll store it. There's a difference between seizure and losing control of the firearm. Absent that, absent it being in plain view, we are not going to conduct a search, miss it or otherwise."

Before the law was passed, Sheriff Elder said his office was exploring the option of filing a lawsuit against the law.

Today he says the county is waiting to see how other orders will proceed before moving forward.

"We need to have standing, that means we need to have the key to the courthouse door. Somebody has to actually be served with one of these orders."

Local News / News

Krystal Story

Krystal is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Krystal here.

Comments

9 Comments

  1. “Before the law was passed, Sheriff Elder said his office was exploring the option of filing a lawsuit against the law.”
    .
    The Sheriff clearly stated his position earlier, so I’m sure that’s why some people are doubting his sincerity now. It seems to be a recurring theme today with politicians and political appointees stating one thing and doing something completely different. And it starts with the Office of the President of the United States and trickles all the way down.

  2. For all of you angry at Elder for talking out of both side of his face, you only have yourself to be mad at. YOU ELECTED HIM!!!
    .
    The fact that he is corrupt was known well before the last election. The Indy has reported on the issue a number of times. There is even a website dedicated to informing the public about all of the dirty deeds he has done and his imcompentency. Yet, you elected him!
    .
    Next time, do your homework BEFORE you vote!

  3. Mental health authorities or a peace officer are currently empowered under CRS 27-65-105 to evaluate anyone and confine them to a mental health facility away from their firearms for 72 hours without any due process if they believe the individual is a danger to themselves or others. After 72 hours, the individual is either released if they are no longer considered to be a danger to themselves or others or they are offered the choice of remaining in the facility either voluntarily or under a court order per CRS 27-65-107.

    So what Elder should do is offer a red flag order recipient a choice – voluntarily agree to confinement in a mental health facility for an evaluation or have your guns confiscated.

    Note that it is likely under a red flag law that once an individual gets a hearing before a judge, he will likely send the individual to a mental health facility for an evaluation. So the only difference in outcomes between existing laws and red flag laws is the unnecessary confiscation of firearms

      1. Re: ” NO ONE is willing to do anything about it”…

        Here is what you can “do”. Start enforcing the laws already on the books and insist empathetic judges and DAs quit allowing people who use or possess a gun illegally to plea bargain away the illegal firearms offense. The feds are one of the worst offenders when it comes to enforcing laws. Straw purchases and lying on the 4473 form you have to fill out for a background check to purchase a firearm is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine – yet in 2010 76142 people failed the background check, 4732 were deemed worthy of prosecution and only 62 were referred for prosecution. Another thing you could do since most of the gun homicides are caused by gangs or repeat offenders is to advocate for a law that would impose a mandatory death sentence on any recidivist with a violent criminal history that uses a firearm to commit a crime regardless of childhood upbringing, economic impoverishment, mental health, age, IQ, ethnicity, $ex or gender identity.

      2. @Torigan Re: ” Very true….and no one complained about any of this before guns were involved…….”

        That’s because this law isn’t about saving lives, it’s about writing a vague, nebulous law that allows the government to confiscate firearms. In 2016 the number of suicides committed with firearms (22938) was about equal to the number committed by other means (22027) so if it was really about saving lives they would be focusing on getting at risk people into mental health facilities. The problem with the 72 hour hold law is that in most cases the mental health facility will not accept a person unless they are medically cleared – especially if drugs or alcohol are involved. This typically requires the individual to be taken first to a hospital emergency room (ER) for a stay that can last hours or even days – and because ER facilities are not lockdown facilities and no one funds a 24/7 guard to watch them, they often slip out of the ER unnoticed…..

        So how do you fix this? Under current laws, the US government requires all hospitals that accept Medicare to treat anyone regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. So to fix the “red flag” problem, the federal government should use the same legal arguments to require all hospitals that accept Medicare to provide at least one ER examining room that can be locked down to securely detain any person who is on a mental health hold until they can be transferred to a mental health facility for evaluation.

  4. I think it is the best approach. Until the whole thing gets struck down for being unconstitutional they have to be careful how they proceed.
    Illegal search and seizure is against the constitution. So like Elder said it would be up to them to relinquish their guns, He can’t just go take them.

    1. the 72 hr mental health eval was not struck down and this wont be either….fact is everyone wants the gun violence to stop but NO ONE is willing to do anything about it.

  5. The statement: “I’m going to kill the Sheriff!” If that doesn’t qualify as a Red Flag then what da L does?

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