Former FBI official says sheriff could have used red flag laws to prevent Colorado Springs shooting
MSNBC analyst Frank Figliuzzi (screengrab)

The latest large mass shooting in Colorado Springs is raising questions about the attacker, who had a history of violence and had even made bomb threats in the past, resulting in federal charges.

Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, former FBI counterintelligence official Frank Figliuzzi mentioned red flag laws, noting that it's something that most Americans support.

"We've got to pull on this thread a little bit more. Allow me to do that with regard to this county, and yes, that's right, the sheriffs there have come out and said -- it's even worse, it's bad enough to say, hey, we're really not going to enforce the red flag laws, we're not going to do our job to protect and serve the community. But it's even worse because what they've said is we're not going to be the ones who petition for the seizure of those weapons under Colorado law," explained Figliuzzi. "Colorado law says there are two parties who can temporarily seize weapons until they figure out a threat. The police and family members of the threatening person."

In the case of the Colorado Springs shooter, after threatening to blow up his mother's home, both parties could have seized any weapons from the shooter or prevented the purchase of additional weapons from the shooter.

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"So, in this case, the police, the sheriffs, are saying, yeah, well, hey, we're not going to be the ones to take his weapons, because, you know, we're going to have his mom request that," characterized Figliuzzi. "Think about that in a spousal abuse situation, where you've got this abused spouse syndrome where they don't even want to press charges. Thank God they dialed 911 because they're getting beaten. And now the sheriff has to say to them, you've got to be the one who tells us to take his property. That's simply not how it happens and that's not how red flags were designed."

Colorado is one of 19 states and the District of Columbia, that has red flag laws. Figliuzzi cited research that says red flag laws are being woefully underused, and particularly so in Colorado.

"So, you can have all of the laws in place, but if you've got sheriffs who simply don't want to protect and serve their communities, this is what's going to happen," he said. "The other thing I want to comment on is the predictability and inevitability of this. The Department of Homeland Security has warned us about the increased threat to LGBTQ communities, particularly pride events and high-profile events. It's not like we can't say we weren't told. When the reporters even on NBC are interviewing people in the community, saying, I heard one person saying I stopped going there because we thought it was going to happen. We saw it coming. So, inevitability, predictability, and the lack of intervention even when the laws allow them to do something."

It doesn't mean that events like this are predictable based on the bomb threat.

"We can't predict that, but it could have put him on the center of the screen for law enforcement and would have lessened the likelihood. And woe be on to the sheriff if we find out that the long gun used in this murder spree was sitting in his house last year when police interviewed him. And they had a chance to take it and they didn't take it," he said.

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