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


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."

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