FILE - Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia with Minority Leader Chris Holbert

Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, left, confers with state Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Castle Rock, in this AP file photo. 

A top Colorado Democrat revealed he won’t vote for a controversial “red flag” gun control bill.

Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, was a question mark on how he would vote on House Bill 1177, but told the Pueblo Chieftain he won’t support the legislation.

Senate Democrats might only have an 18-17 margin to pass the bill, assuming no other Democrats vote against it. A final vote on the bill is expected this week.

“I took a hard look at this bill and while I strongly believe in its intent of preventing gun violence, this is simply not the right legislation for the people of Pueblo and southern Colorado,” Garcia told the Chieftain.

“Make no mistake – as a Marine veteran, I firmly believe that we can work together while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners and addressing the issues at hand. I want to continue working with my colleagues to find a Colorado solution,” he added.

The bill would allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to issue a temporary extreme risk protection order (ERPO) for a person thought to be a threat. If approved by a judge, the person’s firearms could be temporarily seized for up to a year.

Republicans have criticized the bill as violating due process rights and are concerned it could lead to arbitrary gun seizures.

At least 29 counties have passed “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions in response to the legislation, according to Rally for our Rights, a pro-Second Amendment grassroots group.

Pueblo County, which Garcia represents, has not passed a measure, and Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor says he is staying neutral on it.

The House passed the bill quickly earlier this month. Gov. Jared Polis has said he would sign the bill into law.


Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, as an editor at The Daily Caller, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News.