The gun control debate is fired up in Colorado again. Both sides are heated over House Bill 1177 (also referred to as the “red flag law”), which codifies the use of extreme risk protection orders, or ERPOs.

Even if you don’t identify with either side of this debate, it is not hard to see how deeply flawed this legislation is and how it threatens many constitutional rights in addition to the Second Amendment.

First, it helps to explain the law. Let’s assume you are concerned about your uncle, who uttered some troubling comments. You’re worried that he is a danger to himself and others  — and you know he owns firearms. You file an affidavit claiming such things and quickly meet with a judge.

The judge reviews your claims and decides on whether or not to issue the ERPO. If an ERPO is issued, your uncle is then forced to turn in his guns.

For starters, this scenario blurs the line between civil and criminal legal actions. Your uncle has committed no crime, but somehow warrants a judicial order and a knock on the door by the police. If the language of this bill was purely criminal, it would be dead on arrival; it’s no accident that half of the Bill of Rights explicitly enumerates the rights of the accused.

This legal trickery is intentional. Legislative wonks skirt constitutional barriers  —  pesky platitudes like “innocent until proven guilty”  —  by keeping legalese in civil courts.

This way, petitioners can leapfrog the Fourth Amendment, which protects us from search and seizure without probable cause first being established. Police can obtain a search warrant in concurrence with the ERPO, meaning evidence  — which is mostly hearsay to begin with  —  is an afterthought.

Now, police are at your uncle’s door, ready to raid his property. Police are seizing your uncle’s guns, which should ,  in theory,  be protected by the Fifth Amendment. The United States Constitution denies the taking of property without due process. But, again, this is a civil matter, so we continue to linger in this gray area of constitutional law. As a result, your uncle’s firearms get locked away in a police evidence locker and can remain up to a year. If a continuance is filed, they can be kept longer. This not only bars your uncle from his current firearms, but also stops him from purchasing any during the length of the ERPO.

Next, your uncle gets his day in court to plead his case that he isn’t crazy and deserves to have his property returned. Meanwhile, you don’t even have to be appear in court. Traditionally, the Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to face your accuser in court in criminal cases. The key word again: criminal.

Again, ERPO apologists fight to keep this matter in civil court, because they fully understand the implications.

If the constitutional arguments enough for you, then the hollowness of red flag rhetoric might be more convincing. Gun control advocates traditionally use the line “we are not taking away your guns.” ERPOs literally take guns away , hard stop. All it takes is an affidavit.

Advocates will then disingenuously pivot to “mental health.” If supporters were concerned about mental health, then they would be talking more about “M-1 holds.” M-1 allows police officers to place individuals who are a potential threat to themselves or others, into 72-hour psychiatric evaluation. This tool actually gives people the professional help they might need. No new law is required, but then again, the true intent of this law has little to do with mental health.

An ERPO is a backwards way of addressing mental health. This action only enhances a responder’s alienation without any mental health support. If he is prone to violence, the ERPO has weaponized his anger. If he is prone to self-destruction, he likely will find another pathway to his end.

And the final talking point offered in support usually starts with the same phrase: “If this saves one life…” Proponents claim the moral high ground, but fail to realize that this law already has cost a life. Gary Willis was the first casualty of this law, when he was gunned down in his Maryland home while police were serving an ERPO. If only we could save his life.

You don’t have to be a “gun nut” to be troubled by this law. Individuals with a reverence for critical thinking, civil liberties and human dignity should be able to discern that this aptly named law is riddled with worrisome red flags.

Jay Stooksberry is chair of the Libertarian Party of Delta County and a contributor to the Libertarian Party of Colorado.