Letter to the Editor: Regarding gun violence, we need problem solving, not debate | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Regarding gun violence, we need problem solving, not debate

Karn Stiegelmeier
Myra Isenhart
Lower Blue Valley

Colorado communities are increasingly marked by gun violence. Recently two teachers and a student were gunned down at their high school, within walking distance of our capitol. Summit schools were shut down by such a threat. Our state sees, on average, one child injured by guns every day and one is killed weekly. We desperately need to find centrist, problem-solving approaches, not more debate.

We believe that part of the solution is expanding who may file petitions for a red flag law. The Extreme Risk Protection Orders law currently allows concerned family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to decide whether an individual who threatens violence toward themselves or others should be allowed firearms. In the short time since its passage, the Extreme Risk Protection Orders law has identified 58 threats of mass shootings. This is despite petitioners being limited to family members who may be unaware of it or too afraid of the potential shooter’s reaction. This is despite the fact that half our county sheriffs have refused to employ the law.  Fortunately, our sheriff supports red flag laws.

Senate Bill 170 would expand the number of petitioners to professionals such as teachers, medical providers and counselors. Both of us have taught youth and have experienced the openness of our students to sharing intimate thoughts with us. Post-adolescents turn to teachers, nurses, counselors and social workers to share their concerns. Guns can be given back when a judge decides the threat is no longer present; lives already lost cannot.

Thank you to our Rep. Julie McCluskie for leading the passage in the House; please urge Sen. Dylan Roberts to vote for amendments and final passage in the Senate, and Governor Polis to sign it. Extreme Risk Protection Orders are already law; let’s make it work to its full potential!

It’s too late for debate. We need solutions!

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