The Douglas County Republican Party has passed a resolution condemning the red flag bill, House Bill 1177 in the Colorado legislature. The resolution included a strong condemnation of Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who backs the bill.
The measure would allow temporary seizure of guns from people deemed by a court to be a risk to themselves or others.
Spurlock also is now the target of a possible recall, launched in February by attorney Robert Wareham of Highlands Ranch.
The DougCo GOP's executive committee met on Saturday. Spurlock, a Republican, attended the meeting, but it wasn't enough to convince the executive committee to back down, and they voted 18-13 to pass the resolution.
It states that HB 1177 "would deprive citizens of due process," that the 2019 version is worse than what was introduced in 2018 (and which the executive committee also condemned), and that the measure would violate the 2nd, 4th, 5th (and other) amendments to the United States Constitution.
As to Spurlock, the resolution stated that "a party which refuses to hold its own accountable will never succeed in holding its opposition accountable."
One of Spurlock's deputies, Zack Parrish, 29, was killed Jan. 1, 2018, in an ambush in Highlands Ranch as he tried to help a man having a mental breakdown.
Spurlock, in supporting the bill, is in violation of the Constitution, the resolution states, and that Democratic lawmakers have cited his support "as an excuse to pass gun confiscation legislation."
The resolution concluded by condemning the bill and an expression of "profound disappointment and disgust with Sheriff Tony Spurlock for actions against the Constitution of the United States of America and violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America."
Spurlock was re-elected in November, running unopposed. A spokesperson told Colorado Politics that Spurlock was out of the office Monday and was unavailable for comment.
Douglas County has not yet joined the "Second Amendment sanctuary" movement spreading through Colorado counties in opposition to the red flag bill, although county commissioners are reportedly looking into it.
So far, at least 11 counties, with Weld County the largest, have adopted resolutions opposing HB 1177 and/or red flag laws in general and declaring themselves sanctuary counties, meaning they say they will not enforce the law if it is passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Jared Polis.
Another dozen counties, primarily rural, are believed to be considering similar action.
Wareham, of Highlands Ranch, is part of the group working on the potential recall, and he formed an issue committee for that purpose on Feb. 21. He told Colorado Politics that currently the group is working on fundraising, hoping to win financial support from the National Rifle Association or the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
They can't yet start circulating petitions to recall Spurlock, he said, because the law requires he be in office for six months first, and that means waiting until July. (A similar time period exists for the governor.)
They will need around 34,000 valid signatures to put the recall on the ballot, he said. "It will be a Herculean task and there's no false impression that it will be easy. But the people involved are extremely motivated."
Wareham said the red flag bill is not the only issue he has with Spurlock. He also believes Spurlock's office has shown "disturbing institutional arrogance" and "I'm not willing to turn a blind eye anymore."
The second issue, he said, is encryption of public safety communications. Wareham said he discussed encryption with Spurlock about three to four years ago and asked him at the time if Douglas County had any plans to encrypt dispatch channels. He said Spurlock said no, stating it was a "a matter of transparency."
However, for the past two years, Spurlock and Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth have opposed proposals to restrict encryption, including last year, when Republican Rep. Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch ran a bill that would ensure law enforcement doesn't encrypt its radio dispatches.
Nicholson-Kluth testified against the bill; Wareham spoke in support of it, as did the Colorado Press Association, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and the Colorado Broadcasters' Association. It died in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.