Red Flag of Doom

In a completely expected move, Colorado Democrats introduced their new and extremely radical “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) legislation on February 14, 2019, the one year anniversary of the Parkland school shooting.

Four Democrat lawmakers are sponsoring House bill HB 19-1177: Representatives Alec Garnett (who co-sponsored last year’s bill), Tom Sullivan (whose son Alex was killed in the Aurora Theater shooting, and who replaced last year’s sponsor Cole Wist (R-Centennial)), along with Senators Lois Court (a veteran gun-grabber of 2013 infamy) and newly elected Brittany Pettersen, (whose husband runs the radical progressive group ProgressNow Colorado).

A critical reading of HB 19-1177 is enough to make any civil libertarian’s stomach churn. Rife with gray areas and opportunities for abuse, this bill, should it become law, will provide the legal precedent for gun confiscation in a state that until recently was known for its rugged frontier individualism.

Firstly, the pool of potential petitioners (those who initiate the ERPO with the court) is huge. It includes any person related to the respondent (the target of the order) by blood, marriage or adoption; a person who has a child in common, a person who has lived with the respondent within the last 6 months, a domestic partner, a parental relationship, a legal guardian, and any person who has been in an “intimate relationship.”

Most troublingly, the petitioner could be a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency. Imagine, if you will, a land where a county sheriff or one of his deputies could go to court and file a petition to deprive a citizen, without a crime having been committed and with no prior notice, of his legally owned property. There have been times and places in this country where police chiefs and county sheriffs have been corrupt, criminal and even members of the KKK. When a corrupt law enforcement officer – who as a government agent has the legal monopoly on the use of force – has the capacity to disarm citizens under his jurisdiction without the due process of law, the state of Colorado has taken a giant step toward fascism and tyranny.

How would an ERPO work?

First, any of the persons named above would go to a court and initiate a petition to “request a temporary extreme risk protection order without notice to the respondent.” This petition would be signed under oath and the penalty of perjury, and if it’s filed by a law enforcement agency, would also include a sworn affidavit for a search warrant. In essence, you could open a knock on your door (or be subject to a no-knock raid) with no prior warning and have law enforcement enter your home to take away any and all guns and ammunition you own. You would not have any chance to defend yourself against the allegations in the petitioner’s affidavit before being forcibly deprived of your property.

The standard that the court would use in determining whether or not to issue a temporary ERPO is a “preponderance of evidence,” which is a lower standard of evidence than a respondent would have to have in order to get the order revoked (more on that later).

After the initial “temporary” ERPO is issued, the court would have up to 14 days to schedule another hearing to determine if a 364 day “permanent” ERPO should be issued.

Some news stories reported that respondents would be provided with attorneys paid for by the court. This is incorrect. The bill calls for the court to appoint an attorney, but only “indigent persons” get the attorney fees paid by the court.

In a scary “destroy your life” requirement, if the petitioner is a law enforcement agency it is required to notify “third parties who may be at risk” of the ERPO issued against you. In other words, even if the ERPO is subsequently lifted, you will still have the stigma of this order being issued against you following you for the rest of your life without the due process of law having taken place.

If you are the holder of a concealed carry permit, that permit would be immediately revoked and confiscated.

Unlike the filing fee for a temporary restraining order, which is $97, it would not cost anything for a petitioner to file an affidavit for an ERPO. Nothing. Zero dollars.

What are the criteria for issuing these orders? A petitioner must allege that the respondent has:

  • A recent act of violence or threat of violence against self or others, regardless of whether or not such threat involves firearms
  • A pattern of acts or credible threats of violence
  • Violation of a civil protection order
  • A conviction for domestic violence
  • The history of use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person, or a history of stalking
  • Prior arrests for certain crimes
  • Corroborated use of abuse of controlled substances or alcohol (who defines abuse)?
  • Evidence of recent acquisition of a firearm or ammunition by the respondent (this could apply to any gun owner).

The court will determine if the respondent should be evaluated for a mental health hold.

This bill would require the ERPO to be served personally on the respondent, and if initiated by a law enforcement agency would also include a search warrant.

This bill singles out special treatment for veterans, in stipulating that the case should be referred to a veterans court if one is available.

Termination of Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Now for the really scary part. An initial ERPO lasts for a mandatory 364 day period. During this period, the respondent will have exactly ONE chance to request a hearing to restore his or her constitutional and natural rights. Notice of the request of the hearing must be served on the petitioner between 14 and 28 days from the date the request is filed with the court.

At this hearing, the petitioner must establish by CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE that “he or she no longer poses a significant risk to self or others by having in his or her custody or control a firearm or by purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm.” What is “clear and convincing evidence?” It is the highest standard of proof in civil law – a higher legal standard than the one of “preponderance of evidence” standard that the petitioner had to have in order to get the order in the first place. Put simply, this law is stacked against the respondent and it could be extremely difficult to get one of these ERPOs rescinded.

But wait, it gets worse. When it comes time for the ERPO to expire, the court is required to notify the petitioner so they can request an extension of the order. If the court determines that the order should be extended, it may do so for a period of up to one year. There is no language fixing a number of extensions or terms. So, theoretically, a court could order a series of 6-month extensions indefinitely. What’s more disturbing is that the respondent, under the language in the bill, does not get subsequent chances to request the order to be lifted. There is nothing in the bill that allows for further requests after the initial one.

Surrendering Firearms under an ERPO

Under this bill, a respondent would be required (or forced by armed law enforcement agents) to give up his or her firearms and ammunition. Said firearms would have to be surrendered to a licensed Federal Firearms dealer (FFL) for safekeeping. Of course, if a FFL provides such a service, it would not be for free and the respondent would incur the cost of this storage, in addition to all the legal fees already incurred.

If the firearms are not surrendered to a FFL, they are required to be surrendered to the law enforcement agency where the respondent lives. The bill is silent as to who would defray the costs of this (if any) and there is no assurance that the agency would return them upon the expiration of the ERPO.

After the ERPO expires

After the expiration of the ERPO, the respondent would have to go through another background check process to recover his or her property. If the respondent fails to reclaim firearms held by a law enforcement agency within one year, the agency will dispose of the firearms.

The respondent would also have to re-apply and pay the fees for a new concealed carry permit.

Illegal and Unconstitutional

This bill, as written, is both illegal and unconstitutional. It violates the 2nd, 4th, and 5th amendments to the United States Constitution and the Colorado Constitution. Any elected official who supports or votes for this bill is in violation of their oath of office.

Another unfortunate side effect (though I’m sure it’s intentional) is that it could drive a wedge between law enforcement – most of whom are staunch Second Amendment supporters – and the rest of us. It is my sincere belief and hope that should this bill become law that most law enforcement officers would choose to follow the constitution, not this law. “We were only following orders” is a clear path to tyranny.

Call to Action

This illegal bill is being heard before the Colorado House Judiciary Committee at 1:30 pm on Thursday, February 21 in the Old State Library room. Because the notice was less than a week, I know many gun rights advocates will not be able to take off time from work to travel to the capitol and sit around for hours waiting to testify for three minutes. However, you can and should let the legislators on the Judiciary Committee know of your strong opposition. Their email addresses are provided below. Talk to your friends and let your thoughts be known on social media – Twitter in the #copolitics and #coleg hashtags, on Facebook and via letters to editors and journalists.

In 2013, Democrats overreached on gun control with the magazine ban and universal background checks. They clearly feel that they can violate the constitution with impunity now. It’s up to us to demand recalls or resignations of any legislator that votes for this bill.

This is our time to stand firm and demand our lawmakers vote this bill down to the ignominy it so richly deserves.

By Richard D. Turnquist

February 20, 2019

Email addresses for Judiciary Committee:,,,,,,,,,,

Further reading:

Experts David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee on the many “red flags” in this terrible bill:

District Attorney and last year’s supporter of HG 18-1436 comes out against this year’s version:

Rally for Our Rights Lesley Hollywood’s breakdown of the bill:

The Importance of Training

By Richard D. Turnquist

In our last blog post we talked about how to become an armed defender. In this one, we’ll talk about the importance of training.

The importance of maintaining and expanding your skill set with regard to armed combat is impossible to understate.  Training can make the difference between a successful self-defense situation and a disastrous outcome. It can literally be the difference between life and death.

Police sergeant and author Adam Plantinga discusses the importance of training for police officers in his book 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman, saying

“Good cops practice religiously at the shooting range. They perform drills where they draw their firearm across their body and shoot it with their off hand in case their dominant hand is ever incapacitated in a gunfight. They practice chambering a round by using the heel of their boot to rack the slide. Other officers’ lack of preparedness is dismally clear. I was at a firearms training years back where a coworker fired off a full clip [sic] at a close range target of a glowering, armed thug. He missed with every bullet. He then turned towards the class and quipped, “Threw a hell of a scare into him though.”

Sergeant Plantinga knows that shooting skills can decay, and that constant repetition of various drills helps to make a person a better shooter and increases their chance of survival in a combat situation. Drills like tap, rack and shoot to clear a malfunction, how to clear stovepipes and double feeds, combat and tactical reloads, moving while shooting…all of these skills are necessary to give you an advantage over your adversary.

In the FASTER class I attended last summer, a group of police and SWAT instructors led us through these very drills and impressed upon me the importance of training.

Another instance where training, or the lack thereof, is highly visible is in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL in February 2018.

The front line of defense – school staff – were inadequately trained on how to respond to the sighting of a threat. At 2:19 pm, a security monitor who was an unarmed baseball coach saw the shooter (I don’t use names or pictures of mass shooters) enter the high school carrying a rifle bag. He failed to pursue the shooter or to call a “Code Red” to lock down the school.

Two minutes later, another unarmed security monitor spots the gunman, turns away, fails to call a Code Red, and subsequently a student spots the shooter, notifies another campus monitor, who also fails to call a Code Red.

After the shooter started his murderous rampage, one of the campus monitors – who has a radio – ducked into a janitor’s closet but did not call a Code Red. From a newspaper report about the incident: ”School district policies were insufficient and employees were uncertain who could order that the campus be locked down”.

Somehow, the fire alarm in the school went off. Because of the lack of training and the fact nobody called a Code Red, students came streaming out of the classrooms and into the hallways putting them at greater risk.

By now, as everyone knows, the sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school, Scot Peterson, stayed outside and failed to enter the building to confront the shooter. Was this cowardice, as many believe, or a lack of training?

In the wake of the Columbine shooting, police tactics changed from establishing a perimeter and waiting for SWAT to arrive to going in and engaging the shooter. However, at Parkland, the police failed to immediately do either. A lack of training for deputies and commanders led to confusion, chaos and uncertainty during the critical minutes that the shooting was taking place.

In the ensuing minutes, lack of training contributed to an uncoordinated response by sheriff’s deputies arriving at the scene, causing them to fail to establish a command post or a perimeter, allowing the gunman to escape the campus.

On the contrary, when nearby Coral Springs police officers arrived, they rushed into the building. Why? Because they were trained to do so. They later told investigators their training was clear – to run to the gunfire.

Meanwhile, the shooter had left the school and gone to a nearby Walmart.

This tragedy highlights a couple of important points. First, armed school staff could have prevented this tragedy. Second, improved training of school staff, students AND law enforcement could have prevented this tragedy or at least saved lives.

This is why armed defenders, who are willing and able to stand between the innocent and those who would do them harm, benefit from continued drills, training and realistic practice. It’s why many police officers and NRA Certified Instructors offer training courses at local gun shops and ranges. If you are a concealed carry practitioner, we at Bullets Both Ways urge you to devote time and attention to your training. Your life could depend on it.

The South Florida SunSentinel’s timeline on the Parkland shooting can be found here.

Photo: Advanced Pistol Training with Graham Dunne at

How to Prepare

By Richard D. Turnquist

For me, it was Sandy Hook. For you, it could have been Thousand Oaks. Or Parkland. Or maybe it was Orlando. Mass shooting incidents tend to pique interest in becoming an armed citizen and perhaps a concealed carry permit holder.

The journey from unarmed potential victim to armed defender is not difficult, but there are definite steps to be followed and certain things to be aware of. Carrying a firearm in public is an awesome responsibility, and those who are willing and able to do so must be mentally prepared for it. Nobody should strap on a gun and go looking for trouble. Concealed carriers go about their daily lives in a state of awareness and are prepared to defend themselves and others.

In this post, I will take a non-gun owning person from where they are to where they want to be. Any particular reader could already be at any stage of this journey, but refresher knowledge is always helpful.

The first step is to learn and take to heart the four rules of gun safety. Whether you’ve fired 0 rounds or 10,000 rounds in your lifetime, it’s always a good idea to review these fundamental principles.

  1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded, even if you think it is not.
  2. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and ready to shoot.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

If you have never fired a gun before, the next step is to get some basic training. While many gun owners are happy to teach the uninitiated, I recommend finding a professional instructor. Many gun shops offer training by NRA Certified Instructors, and many police officers offer training courses as side businesses. A professional trainer will be able to instruct you on how to safely operate your firearm, how to hold it, how to aim and to pull the trigger smoothly and cleanly. As you learn they can offer tips for improvement.

If you want to carry a concealed weapon, the next step is to study the concealed carry laws in your state. Gun ownership and use are covered by a patchwork of laws at the state and federal level. In theory, every state and the District of Columbia must issue a concealed carry permit to qualified gun owners who meet certain legal and practical tests. In practice, states like California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are “May-Issue”, meaning that a permit is required to carry a concealed handgun, and issuance of such permits is at the discretion of governmental authorities. The rest of the states are either “Shall Issue”, meaning that governmental authorities will issue permits to legally qualified citizens without discretion. So-called “constitutional” or permit-less carry means that legally qualified citizens can carry concealed handguns without a permit.

There is also the matter of reciprocity. Some states only recognize permits issued by that state. Others recognize permits issued by other states. This means that it is up to the gun owner to know the laws of the state he or she is travelling to. The same person who legally carries a concealed weapon in Colorado could be charged with a crime in New Jersey for carrying a concealed weapon there.

Whether it is required by law or not, taking a concealed carry training course is a great idea. In Colorado, it is a requirement for obtaining a concealed carry permit. In the typical 8-hour course, the instructor will cover gun safety, firearms laws in your state, mindset, tactical considerations, and a live fire qualification.

After completing the course, you will need to complete the necessary applications and pay the necessary fees. In Colorado, the process involves obtaining a form from your county sheriff, completing it, submitting it along with a filing fee (in my case it was about $150), getting fingerprinted and waiting. When I got my concealed carry permit in the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, I had to wait two full months to get it. Typically, the sheriff will run an expanded background check including an FBI check on the applicant before issuing the permit.

The next step involves deciding on the firearm you want to carry, the equipment you will need, where you plan to carry it (on-body, in a purse or backpack, etc.), and other considerations. You should test fire a gun before making the decision to purchase or carry it. Does it work right every time? Does it jam unexpectedly? Is it difficult to load new magazines? Is it comfortable to wear? Set aside some money for a quality holster and a solid gun belt. Look into cover garments that allow for enhanced concealment. Plan to buy a couple pairs of pants that are a size bigger to accommodate the extra equipment you will be carrying.

Finally, read books about the subjects of concealed carry, gun combat, mindset and preparation. Immerse yourself in the subject. Carrying a concealed firearm for lawful purposes is not something to be undertaken lightly. Continue to attend advanced training in being a concealed carrier.

One awesome training class that is available in Colorado and Ohio for church security personnel, school administrators and others is the FASTER course (for Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response) that is offered by Coloradans for Civil Liberties. In this class, students are taught about mass shooters, mindset, advanced combat techniques and medical combat triage and first aid. To learn more please see my four-part series at this link.

Because it doesn’t fit the narrative, the press doesn’t give extensive coverage to situations where an armed responder stops a mass shooting or prevents ordinary crimes. But such incidents do occur every day in America. It’s our mission at Bullets Both Ways to support the armed defender and the right to keep and bear arms.

Fighting Back

by Richard D. Turnquist

On the evening of November 7, 2018, a gunman armed with a legally purchased weapon and several “high capacity” magazines (illegal under California law) walked into a country western nightclub in Thousand Oaks, California and shot several security guards and patrons before killing himself.

When the incident was over, twelve people lay dead, including a police officer who was killed by a shot fired by another officer. This tragedy highlights two key concepts about mass shooting events. First, armed self-defenders were unable to be present at the scene, and second that gun control laws fail to prevent gun violence.

California law prohibits concealed carry in establishments that derive the majority of their revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages, effectively making the Borderline Bar and Grill a “Gun Free Zone.” Unfortunately, the security guard outside was unarmed, making him the first defenseless target. Once the shooter entered the building full of unarmed people, he commenced shooting other guards and patrons, stopping to reload several times.

Because the Borderline Bar and Grill was a gun free zone, it was a few minutes before armed responders – the police – could get to the scene. Hearing gunshots coming from the building, the officers heroically went inside and engaged the shooter. In the ensuing gunfight, Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Helus was shot and fatally wounded. After more police arrived and worked to secure the building, the shooter was found dead in the kitchen of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, another coward who took his own life when confronted with armed resistance.

When misguided laws prevent armed defenders from being in a location, that location becomes exponentially more dangerous. This is why Bullets Both Ways supports the armed defender – those who are willing and able to take responsibility for the defense of themselves and others.

This shooting occurred in the state of California, which has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation. Here are several gun control laws California has enacted that failed to prevent this mass shooting:

  • State permit required to purchase. Purchasers must have a Firearms Safety Certificate.
  • Firearms are required to be registered.
  • “Assault weapons” ban
  • 10 round magazine capacity restriction
  • Open carry is restricted
  • 10 day waiting period
  • Universal background checks
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders, aka “Red Flag” law

One could say that the Thousand Oaks shooting was an outlier, but sadly there have been many mass shootings in California in recent years. The fact is: if gun control laws worked, there would be no mass shootings in California or anywhere else.

In a world where armed self-defense is necessary to preserve life against tyrants, criminals, jihadists and the mentally ill, it is immoral to prevent legally qualified citizens from exercising the right of armed self-defense.

While Bullets Both Ways is not a political organization, politics do matter. We encourage our followers and customers to be active in the defense of our right to keep and bear arms, and to recognize that additional infringements on our rights in the form of California-style gun control laws will not only fail to prevent future tragedies, they could severely impair your ability to defend yourself and your loved ones.