Despite Sheriff Bill Elder’s past opposition to the “red-flag law” that took effect Jan. 1, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office now says it will comply.
The red-flag law allows an individual to petition the court to remove firearms from a family or household member they feel could endanger themselves or others. Law enforcement can also petition the court for an order. A judge must hold a hearing that day, or the following day, to determine whether to issue the protection order.
Officials from more than half the state’s counties, including El Paso, issued resolutions opposing the law last year, claiming it violates Second Amendment rights and constitutional due process.
But in its January statement, the sheriff’s office says it is “committed to safeguarding the community from the potential risk of imminent harm created by significantly mentally ill people who have access to firearms and have exhibited behaviors that create a public safety concern,” and will enforce court orders.
“A member of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will not petition for [a protection order] unless exigent circumstances exist, and probable cause can be established … that a crime is being or has been committed,” the statement says.