The Douglas County Republican Party condemns the state’s red flag bill and Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who backs it, in a new resolution.
House Bill 1177 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 Saturday, and the Republican Spurlock attended, but the panel nonetheless voted 18-13 to pass the resolution.
It says 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 U.S. Constitution.
As for Spurlock, “a party which refuses to hold its own accountable will never succeed in holding its opposition accountable,” the resolution says.
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.
But the county GOP says Spurlock, in supporting the bill, is violating the U.S. Constitution, and Democratic lawmakers cite his support “as an excuse to pass gun confiscation legislation.”
The resolution expresses “profound disappointment and disgust with Sheriff Tony Spurlock … ”
Spurlock was re-elected in November, running unopposed. The sheriff could not be reached Monday for comment.
Douglas County has not yet joined the “Second Amendment sanctuary” movement spreading through Colorado in opposition to the red flag bill, though county commissioners reportedly are looking into it.
So far, at least 11 counties have adopted resolutions opposing HB 1177, red flag laws or both and declaring themselves sanctuary counties, meaning 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. He said the group hopes to win financial support from the National Rifle Association or the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
By law, they can’t circulate recall petitions until Spurlock has been in office six months, so they’re waiting till July.
They will need about 34,000 valid signatures of registered county voters to put the recall on the ballot, Wareham 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 besides the red flag bill, he believes Spurlock’s office has shown “disturbing institutional arrogance,” and “I’m not willing to turn a blind eye anymore.”
Wareham also said he asked Spurlock three or four years ago whether Douglas County planned to encrypt dispatch channels used by public safety personnel. He said Spurlock said no, stating it was a “a matter of transparency.”
But for the past two years, Spurlock and Undersheriff Holly Nicholson-Kluth have opposed restrictions on encryption, including last year, when state Rep. Kevin Van Winkle, R-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.