TTAG Talks To Sheriff Steve Reams About the ‘Red Flag’ Complaint Filed Against Him

Sheriff Steve Reams

Courtesy Sheriff Reams

Maybe you saw the reports from Colorado about the county jail inmate who had petitioned a local court for an extreme risk protection (“red flag” confiscation) order against Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams. First, the good news: a local court took one look at the petition and threw it out, recognizing it for the frivolous harassment it was.

What makes the nuisance filing notable is that Sheriff Reams has been one of Colorado’s most vocal critics of the state’s “red flag” law. He vowed long ago not to enforce any confiscation orders issued against anyone in his Weld County jurisdiction…a county that declared itself a Second Amendment sanctuary almost a year ago.

TTAG talked to Sheriff Reams yesterday about the attempted “fed flag” confiscation. He told us that the prisoner petitioner — an inmate named Leo Crispin who’s been in the county jail for about two years — is something of a jailhouse lawyer, one who’s been known to be “uncooperative” at times.

Crispin claimed that county jail guards intimidate and abuse inmates. Sheriff Reams told us they carry shotguns with less lethal ammunition — basically beanbags — to use in the event inmates become violent. That apparently intimidates Crispin.

Under Colorado’s “red flag” law only relatives or those who live with a gun owner can petition the court to have their guns confiscated. Crispin’s novel theory was that because he resides in the county jail, which Sheriff Reams oversees, he “lives with” the sheriff and had standing to request the gun grab.

If the confiscation order had somehow been issued by the judge, the Sheriff — who has access to and is responsible for all of the county’s firearms — would have had to disarm not only himself, but everyone in the jail, guards included.

This kind of abuse of the law by someone with a beef against the targeted gun owner is precisely why Sheriff Reams opposed the ERPO law in the first place. And the consequences for filing a frivolous claim like this are minimal.

At most, under the Colorado law, Crispin faces a charge of perjury for claiming that he “lives with” the sheriff. But even that’s in doubt here, because Crispin will likely argue that’s his understanding of the law as it’s written.

The sheriff told us that only two motions (other than Crispin’s) for “red flag” confiscations have been filed in Weld County since the law went into effect, and both were denied. He said, though, that when his office is notified that the court has received an ERPO petition, his office notifies the targeted gun owners so they can defend themselves.

Sheriff Reams didn’t sound particularly concerned about Crispin’s legal Hail Mary maneuver. But what really concerns him is how the law can and likely will be used by people looking to harass their targets because of personal disputes, contentious divorces, whatever. Petitions that will result in actual gun confiscations.

In any case, he says he still opposes the new law and his department will not enforce any possible future “red flag” confiscation orders a court may issue in Weld County.

 

 

comments

  1. avatar American Patriot says:

    Good for him!

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      Trump opened a real can of worms when he spoke out in support of this type of legislation

      1. avatar Gene Ralno says:

        Last I heard, when fully and honestly briefed, he changed his mind.

  2. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Because copies of the NSW Firearms Registry database have been handed out by the Greens party, and this contains names, addresses, and other corroborating details, I am very concerned about complaints being logged against me by people I don’t know in places and times I was not present.

    1. avatar Excedrine says:

      That’s a feature, not a bug. Gun-grabbers don’t care about you, your family, or your rights. They’ll do anything — and I do mean anything — to keep you and everyone else from owning guns.

      We all know why.

    2. avatar Rusty - Molon Labe - Chains says:

      This is yet another reason why a registration scheme is really nothing more than a means to implement future confiscation. Here in the states, criminals are specifically excused from being required to register since that would be a violation of their 5th amendment secured right against self-incrimination (per the Supreme Court).

  3. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    …and that is why I respect most Sheriffs. They are responsible to the citizens who elected them. Unlike Police Chiefs who are typically toadies of the local city council and are appointed for that reason by the Council…they are “echo chambers” for the Council’s agendas / beliefs.

    Look at how F’d up Seattle PD has been for years…or San Francisco PD…or Chicago…or NYPD…or ???

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Sheriff’s from those same areas are often just as bad. It all depends on the electorate.

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        That’s why I said “…most Sheriffs…”

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Not to hijack this cop story but the obese black woman cop who shot the dude jumping a Chicago turnstile(from YESTERDAY)has an update…ALL CHARGES DROPPED against the jumper. And he’s in critical condition. I see a gigantic payout😒

    1. avatar Geoff "Sick Puppies-R-Us" PR says:

      “ALL CHARGES DROPPED against the jumper. And he’s in critical condition. I see a gigantic payout😒”

      He deserves it. And the public is gonna pay for it, driving Shit-Cago that much closer to insolvency, and the US government (meaning *us*) will probably end up paying for it.

      Oh, joy.

      Since we are already off-topic, I’ll drop this here :

      Heard an interesting theory – The Nov. election. Covid-19 will be in full swing. Heard a statistic it’s 14 percent fatal for those over 80 in Wuhan providence.

      How many elderly people in big cities are gonna be eager to get infected in a polling place? Yeah, me neither. 🙂

      There’s one big advantage to living in flyover vs. big cities this year.

      Heard another China theory – China has to get their economy going, but sick returning factory workers can start a second wave of infection larger than the first. China is truly fucked, damned if they do, and double-damned if they don’t. This could truly collapse their economy, and in the process of dropping trillions in helicopter money, ignite a fatal inflation cycle…

      1. avatar Geoff "Sick Puppies-R-Us" PR says:

        Oh, yeah – A wounded China is an even more dangerous China…

      2. avatar Southern Cross says:

        This is what happens when the staff at a bio weapons research center are selling the test animals at the exotic meat market after the tests were finished. I wonder who thought it was a good idea?

        1. avatar eremeya says:

          I just returned to the US from China in the past month. There is a lot of misinformation. The virus did not start in the market (and most likely did not come from the lab). The first publicly known case had no connection to the market or lab.

          Strych9’s comment below is really good and right on.

      3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Geoff, you are usually pretty reasonable. Granted, I spent the weekend at The Farm where I want to be incommunicado. Last I heard there were a few tens of thousands (very few) infected. Many fewer have died. Usually with underlying health issues. Divide those billions of humans alive into the number infected. See how small that number is after the math. No conspiracy theorists with tin foil hats allowed to comment.

        1. avatar Hillbilly says:

          Yes yes, don’t worry about it. Beginning to think some of you work for the Chinese Communist Party. What is next, you will charge him with disturbing the order of the country? Only Strych9 brought up panic, Geoff sounds like a realist.

        2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          Note Strych’s comment verifying the fatality rate for those over 80.

          That stat just so happened to get my attention because my dad is in his mid-80s…

      4. avatar strych9 says:

        Realistically we’re very likely talking sub 2% fatal and that’s in China with their comparatively sub-standard practices and care.

        This whole thing worries me not for the disease itself but for our seeming inability to be rational about it. That inability might cause some serious problems. As I’ve said here frequently “panic fucking kills” is a pretty good rule to live by. It applies here in spades.

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Strych9, “panic kills.” I wish I had said that. Do you mind if I borrow it? I’ve sure as shit seen it.

        2. avatar Ed Schrade says:

          I’m waiting for the simple government remedy for the Coronavirus, pass a law against it and everything will be fine.

        3. avatar strych9 says:

          Gadsden:

          Go right ahead and use it to your heart’s content. It’s an observation, not a trademark.

          If you find it useful pass it on to anyone and everyone you think might benefit from it.

        4. avatar Hannibal says:

          Even a 1% mortality rate for an illness that spreads as easily (or moreso) than the flu is extremely dangerous. Not ebola dangerous but imagine if everyone who got the flu had a 1% chance of dying. When you play the numbers out, it’s potentially very bad. Not just for the stock market but the economy as a whole.

          There’s never a good time to panic but it is worth being worried- and realistic- about.

        5. avatar strych9 says:

          Gadsden:

          I forgot to add this to my previous reply.

          I would also note that the three word statement I put here originally is those three specific words for a very specific reason. That reason is because that middle word, in my experience, punctuates the first and last words very specifically because it doesn’t belong in that sentence.

          When giving safety briefings to people who legitimately might find themselves in a life-threatening situation immediately following the briefing, I’ve found that saying that “panic kills” results in a response I consider sub-optimal. People see “panic kills” as a cerebral and almost academic statement, similar to saying something like “fire burns” or “wind blows”. People tend to respond to that with “duh”. They just don’t see the statement in a way that they “internalize” it, or said another way, they don’t take it as seriously as they should considering that the statement may be the difference between them living or dying at that this may happen rather sharpishly.

          When saying “Panic fucking kills” in this same format the “fucking” is rather unexpected due to the professional nature of the briefing and the sharp, unprofessional nature of using that word in this context. It therefore stands out and it draws attention to itself as well as the words immediately around it. IME this makes people more likely to really pay attention to “panic” and “kills” and therefore internalize the meaning of the two words that truly matter.

          It’s not a statement I use to offend or sound hard. It’s not my version of the 1000 yard stare. That middle word is a signpost, and one I have personally found quite effective, in attracting attention to the parts of the statement I really, really want people to pay attention to.

        6. avatar strych9 says:

          “Even a 1% mortality rate for an illness that spreads as easily (or moreso) than the flu is extremely dangerous.”

          Yes. However, we have to look at the facts as they are known. In China, a place with what most US folks would consider to be a “substandard” level of medical attention we have some variance here.

          The death rate in China’s Hubei Province is currently thought to be about ~2.9%. But consider that this is the epicenter of the problem and it was going on before it was actually detected and before current procedures to deal with it were in use. That is, the learning curve for this area was terribly steep.

          This Province also has a pretty aged population and we know that COVID-19’s fatality rate skyrockets for those over 80, where it’s thought to be about 14.9%, it drops to 8% for those in their seventies and drops again to 3.6% for those in their sixties, another big drop to 1.3% for those in their fifties and to 0.4% for those in their 40’s. The rate continues to drop as age decreases. And this is in China, with again, not our level of medical care or resources.

          Realistically, first world countries would probably, and I stress probably, see a sub 1% death rate, like 0.4% or less with those dying mostly those of advanced age or with severe complications.

          I mean, consider the flu pandemic in Africa in 2009. 1.2% fatality rate, almost 1200% higher than the United States fatality rate for that year or any subsequent year. The difference between the US and that pandemic is almost entirely the level of care that people received. Here they get pretty good care and the fatality rate is very, very low. In other places it’s many times higher because they don’t have the level of care that we get. We can see that same problem with China and COVID-19.

          None of which is to say that we shouldn’t keep a wary eye on this whole thing but we can’t blow it out of proportion either. Well, we can, but we should strive not to.

        7. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Strych9, very good. You should work for the CDC but I doubt you fit their political agenda.

        8. avatar RidgeRunner says:

          Totally true. The main difference between C-virus and run-of-the-mill flu is the intense communicability of the former. Media and left (same) are pounding this and want to pin it on Trump. Timing is perfect. I had to fly to LA yesterday, saw a fair amount of people with masks on, one at BNA, only two on the (full) plane, and several at the LAX airport, mostly Asians. And my cabbie (LAX has ruined Uber at the terminal, unfortunately). I do understand the this virus can and has messed up the supply chains and impacted all the Asian production, which is I believe the primary driver for the stock market dive. Tour producers are weighing options and halting global tours, not so much because they’re scared to go but because some global markets are putting the kibosh on mass gatherings or considering doing so. I work in an industry that is completely driven by humans going out and gathering, both internally and externally, live sports/entertainment events business (which is at all time highs) and conferences. I can already see it being disrupted and we are exploring new ways to teleconference and digital events, which would be smart anyway. Our security team advises: be cautious but do business as usual. Treat this like a flu outbreak. Hang on! Stay the course! Go to concerts and ball games! You’ll be alright! Panic and overreaction is the enemy, Strych is dead on.

        9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          strych9 and others,

          The fatality rate in the Italy outbreak is in that 2% to 3% range. I would imagine that Italy has decent healthcare available.

          And we have already had deaths in the United States.

          It does appear to affect aged population the most.

        10. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Strych9, the mortality rate won’t likely drop much below 1%. The care provided is not particularly technical, and is supportive care. Even China is capable of this, and we have seen that 1% number stable in 1st world countries as well. Plus, there’s just that many people who immune compromised in the first place.
          The issue with Covid 19 is not the direct mortality rate. People need to stop focusing on that. The dying is not actually most important. It is the symptomatic rate, and the rate at which people require medical treatment.
          This is the rate at which people are forced to stay home from work, and the rate that particularly effects health care workers and social workers.
          When health care workers get sick and can’t show up to work, all of the people who are sick and injured by other “normal” things don’t get treated as well or as fast. So they get sicker, which further burdens the health care system, beginning a cycle of exponentially diminishing resources.
          We see lots of small, and large examples of this in the US. Regional flues have significant effects on those requiring dialysis, even though those requiring dialysis did not have the flu. Their nurses and technicians did, or were taking care of people who did. During natural disasters, such as hurricanes, we see a lot more people die of heart attacks. It has nothing to do with the hurricane directly, they just couldn’t get to the hospital in time, or the hospital had fewer people to help them, and so treatment times took longer.
          In short, sick patients lead to a lot more dead patients than dead patients do.

        11. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “…COVID-19’s fatality rate skyrockets for those over 80, where it’s thought to be about 14.9%, it drops to 8% for those in their seventies and drops again to 3.6% for those in their sixties,…”

          True. Having a parent in their mid-80s is what raised my eyebrows on that 14 percent stat.

          Oh, and overnight, Tampa, 40 miles from me, announced they had 2 verified cases…

        12. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

          Hear hear. I live in Florida and despite the fact we have hurricanes every year there is alway a panic. Bare shelves. No water and no gas. It’s quite the spectacle

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      The family of the wounded guy has thanked the city for their support, asking for prayers and is otherwise silent… i.e. no calls for riots or to burn city hall down. Amazing, innit?

  5. avatar Dennis says:

    Excellent example of what can and will happen with the passing of these stupid, frivolous laws.

  6. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I don’t have any experience with red flag laws, but I did serve many an injunction for protection. I have the feeling they are kissing cousins. Disclaimer: I’ve said this before so if you have already read it feel free to move on. An injunction for domestic violence requires the respondent to surrender all firearms. It is not a search warrant. I could not enter the respondent’s home unless invited. Certainly could not search. If the respondent said he had no firearms that was the end of it. Next I read these injunctions. After a while and a little experience you can smell bullshit. If I felt that was the case I would ask the respondent if he had a friend or relative who could take possession of his weapons while I waited. I could then testify the respondent, to my knowledge, had no firearms in his possession subsequent to service of the injunction. Before my retirement I was loathe to take a citizen’s firearms unless directly connected to a violent felony. Understand, if things had went South in any of those situations, at the very least my career would have been over. Worst case. Jail time. But I had to look at myself in the mirror.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I don’t foresee real issues in domestic situations with ERPOs, because there are always the DVROs that have been available for years for battling spouses. The problem becomes a critical issue as the persons who can request ERPOs increases, and undoubtedly they will. Initially California required that the applicant had to be a resident of the same household, but in the last session, the law was broadened to include employers (and employees who first complain to the employer) and teachers. I can’t see anything that prevents an anti-gun Legislature/Governor from broadening the scope except common sense,(something typically absent in political circles).

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        And expand it they will. Watch them next add to the laws that can get firearm rights revoked, like careless driving…

  7. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The Red Flag order is the ultimate weapon to be used by cop haters. And no one dreamed about it being used against the state.
    Wow!
    I Look Forward to see if its enforced on an equal playing field. I doubt it. It might ultimately be the undoing of the Red Flag order itself.

    1. avatar Hydguy says:

      This is the second public official that I know of that has had a ‘red flag’ order against them, and the second one dismissed.
      The other was a Colorado cop who was involved in the shooting of a criminal, and IIRC, the mother filed it and it was denied, and she was charged with something. There was an article here about it in Dec or Jan.

  8. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Chris, you might be surprised. After my divorce I had several coworkers come to me and say they were scared shitless Mary would file an injunction and they would have to try to seize my firearms. Of course, she would have had no reason to. I barely ever raised my voice to her. Never mind a hand. Point is, they would have come for my weapons. Of course, damn their luck, I sold them all yesterday. Had to pay the lawyers.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      I know a local lawyer down here that had no problem being paid with guns for his services. The pawn shop I was at back then noticed he’d drop in a few times a year to unload the crap on us.

      He said it was an odd dichotomy they usually had, A-model Uzis and crappy Tec-9 garbage in the same gym bag. For some reason, drug dealers stored their gun collections in gym bags…

    2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      I glad you are a free man. You can always buy more guns.
      (smile)

  9. avatar possum says:

    Look at that cop smile. Big joke to you oh man in blue , not so funny in another’s shoe. “Ehh well were immune from most existing laws,,I mean in this profession you have to be.” Smile on smile on

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Possum, like I said these things are not search warrants. They don’t allow LEO into your home unless you invite them. Memorize this, “Officer, I no longer possess any firearms (no explanation needed, boating accidents or whatever.) I have no desire to harm myself or others. I will appear in court on the date and time specified on these papers. In the meantime, further inquiries should be directed to my attorney. Here is his/her card. Have a nice day.” Close the door. Of course, situations may vary by jurisdiction.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        One more thing possum. I didn’t wear blue. I was a Deputy Sheriff. I wore olive green. My slacks had black piping. Spit shined Ft. Lewis Danners. Black basket weave duty gear with a 1911 holstered. A black campaign hat. Ray Ban aviators de rigueur. I brooked no bullshit. I tried to be compassionate when I could. Unfortunately, I spent more time with victims than suspects. As far as being in another’s shoe. LEOs answer to the same law as you. Said this before. I testified in federal court and sent my captain to prison for violating a dirtbag’s constitutional rights. Everyone plays by the rules or you suffer the consequences. I don’t care which side of the chess board you’re on.

      2. avatar Paul says:

        I’m a little less polite, but yeah. Four cops arrived on my doorstep a couple months ago, stating that they wanted to see my guns. I questioned them, “Why do you want to see my guns?” Turns out some idiot made a Facebook post about suicide, and specified using a 30.06. So, they were specifically looking for that idiot, and a 30.06. Told them I don’t own a 30.06, I had only seen one recently, in the possession of the individual they were interested in. “Well, do you own any guns?” “Well, yes, of course I own guns.” “Can we see them?” “No, my guns are inaccessible to the person you’re talking about” reach in pocket for keys to show “and there is no reason for you to see my guns”.

        That was the end of things, until the idiot of interest arrived, and admitted to the cops that he had a 30.06 stashed on the property. They took away the idiot and his 30.06, and left me with my stash – just the way things should work out.

        1. avatar Miner49er says:

          “he had a 30.06 stashed on the property”

          ?

  10. avatar Hillbilly says:

    Ironic yet at the same time I see the logic. Sooner or later this will be weaponized against a few LEOs / Judges / Governement Officials and then the fun will really begin.

  11. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I read the application for a “Red Flag” order included with this article. I about busted out laughing when I noticed that the application calls the subject of the order a “respondent”.

    How can the subject of a Red Flag order be a “respondent” when the entire process happens without the subject’s knowledge or ability to participate?

    That underscores how WRONG these Red Flag processes are.

  12. avatar Gene Ralno says:

    This is just one of many flaws in this poorly crafted and unconstitutional law. It’s virtually devoid of due process but it also introduces avenues for which shysters may defend their clients. For example, what if the personnel file for an accused law officer contains a temporary suspension for abuse or excessive use of force?

    Seems a potential red flag charge might intimidate that officer in tense situations or paint him as unreliable by fellow officers. Clearly, these laws need to be expedited to the Supreme Court because the longer they remain on the books, the more they stink up the place. If not quickly reversed, they’ll cast doubt on America’s entire system of jurisprudence.

  13. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    First, the good news: a local court took one look at the petition and threw it out, recognizing it for the frivolous harassment it was.

    How is this good news? Most red flag confiscations are going to be frivolous. We won’t see any change until they hurt the powerful.

  14. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Typical thug use of a poorly written law hurried in by liberals.

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