GREELEY, Colo. — Weld County on Wednesday became a so-called "Second Amendment sanctuary county".
The Weld County Commission unanimously passed a resolution that excuses law enforcement officers from complying with state gun laws that the commission and local law enforcement see as "unconstitutional."
Commission Chair Barbara Kirkmeyer told Denver7 the county's resolution is a reaction to the "red flag" bill making its way through Colorado's legislature, which would allow law enforcement officers to take firearms away from gun owners deemed a threat to themselves and others by a judge.
But Kirkmeyer said the bill fails to address mental health and treatment – something bill sponsors argue is not the case but an argument that has been common from skeptics since this year's version was introduced.
"It's basically a stealth-type bill and it's really going to be used to just confiscate people's firearms, or else require a next step of a statewide registry of all of our handguns," Kirkmeyer claimed.
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said he will not enforce the measure if it passes.
"I'm not refusing to acknowledge a new law could potentially be passed; what I'm refusing to do is enforce a law – [which] I believe, and I believe my constituent base is in agreement – I can't enforce a law I believe goes against our state constitution or our federal Constitution," said Reams.
The commission received some support from constituents during a morning workshop on the issue. But some voters outside of the room expressed their displeasure with the commissioners' resolution, to which Kirkmeyer said she's upholding the state and federal constitutions.
House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, the red flag bill's sponsor, sent Denver7 the following statement in reaction to counties becoming sanctuaries for the second Amendment:
"It’s unfortunate that some have chosen to drive misinformation about this life-saving bill. Right now, we are focused on passing the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill and ensuring it is signed into law. This is about saving lives and helping those that are experiencing a mental health crisis – not playing politics."
Mental Health Colorado issued a statement Wednesday afternoon reacting to the county's decision.
"Elected officials in Weld, Fremont, and Montezuma Counties have stated they will not implement a life-saving extreme risk protection order if House Bill 1177 passes. We are disheartened about the decision of these county commissioners. More than half of all suicides in Colorado involve a firearm. We believe everyone should have access to this life-saving protection order no matter where you live. Saving lives should not be a partisan issue"