In Colorado Springs, county officials vowed to resist "red flag" laws that aim to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals
Colorado law allows courts to, in some circumstances, seize weapons from an individual if the person is deemed to be a safety risk to themselves or others. The suspect in the shooting, Aderson Lee Aldrich, had a notable encounter with police last year. According to a bulletin released by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, in June of 2021, police engaged in a standoff with Aldrich at a home in El Paso County. Aldrich’s mother told police that her son was threatening her with a “homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” and that she did not know where he was. The report prompted law enforcement to evacuate homes in the area while they located and negotiated with Aldrich. According to the bulletin, no explosive was identified, but Aldrich was arrested and charged with felony menacing and first degree kidnapping. The case was ultimately dropped.
Nevertheless, Aldrich is the suspected gunman in a shooting late Saturday night. At least five people were killed and dozens injured when a gunman carrying a long rifle — authorities have not released more specifics about the weapon — opened fire inside the Colorado Spring nightclub. The shooting took place the night before the nation’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Local officials have indicated they suspect the shooting is a “hate attack.”
This earlier incident has prompted questions as to why law enforcement did not invoke existing red flag laws in order to disarm Aldrich. Sen. John Hickelooper, a Democrat from Colorado, called the lack of implementation of red flag laws in the case a “failure by any measure,” in a Tuesday appearance on CNN.
Sen. Hickenlooper (D-CO) on questions why the state's red-flag law didn't prevent Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ nightclub shooting:— The Recount (@therecount) November 22, 2022
"The implementation was not perfect in this circumstance ... It was a failure by any measure. But that doesn't mean we don't have to continue to try." pic.twitter.com/6o7cEEtgBA