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Prior 2021 Arrest of Club Q Gunman Spotlights Red Flag Laws

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(CNN) -- The prior arrest of the 22-year-old suspected gunman who allegedly opened fire in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub last weekend has put the spotlight on a state law which can be utilized to temporarily remove gun access from those deemed a danger to themselves or others.Colorado's controversial red flag law, also known as an extreme risk protection order, allows law enforcement, family members or a roommate to petition a judge to temporarily seize a person's firearms if they are deemed a risk.

But one caveat is they must start the process.If the public is uninformed of the potential risk, or rejects gun control measures, or law enforcement refuses to enforce the law, it could be rendered useless, some observers said.The year before Anderson Lee Aldrich, whose attorneys say uses they/them pronouns, allegedly entered Club Q with an AR-style weapon and a handgun, killing five people and injuring at least 19 others, they were arrested in June 2021 on two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office at the time.Aldrich allegedly threatened to harm their mother with a homemade bomb and other weapons.

But no charges were filed, and the case has since been sealed. It is unclear why the records were sealed.When asked last week why the red flag law was not used in Aldrich's case, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said it was "too early" to say."I don't have enough information to know exactly what the officers knew," Weiser said.The sheriff's office did not respond to requests for comment, but it does not appear that anyone, including law enforcement, triggered the process to obtain an extreme risk protection order after.

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