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Rep. Tom Sullivan, D-Centennial, speaks at a news conference announcing the “red flag” gun bill on Feb. 14, 2019 inside the state Capitol building in Denver, while members of the group Moms Demand Action stand on the steps behind. Sullivan, who lost his son Alex in the Aurora theater shooting, is one of the bill's primary sponsors. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

The Colorado Senate on Thursday passed the so-called red flag gun bill, moving the measure within a step of Gov. Jared Polis’ desk, where he’s expected to sign it into law.

House Bill 1177 cleared the chamber on an 18-17 vote. It now heads back to the House for approval of Senate amendments.

Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat, voted against the measure — a priority bill for Democrats in Colorado this year — as expected. “I want to continue working with my colleagues to find a Colorado solution,” Garcia said earlier this week in a written statement.

Garcia, however, offered no amendments to the bill as it made its way through the Senate. He also did not offer any alternative solutions and has declined interviews about the topic. During debate about the bill on Thursday, Garcia did not speak.

No Republicans voted “yes” on the legislation. Garcia was the lone Democrat to join the GOP in their united opposition.

The Senate, where Democrats hold a slim 19-16 majority, was where the bill faced its only real challenge.

Lawmakers debate House Bill 1177 in the Colorado Senate on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The measure would allow Colorado judges to order the temporary seizure of firearms from people deemed a significant risk to themselves or others.

The bill has been hailed by gun-control advocates as a life-saving tool. Opponents question its constitutionality and describe it as a gun grab.

If the measure is signed into law by Polis, as he’s said he will do, it’s expected to face legal challenge. Some Colorado sheriffs have vowed not to use the measure or uphold a court order to seize someone’s guns under the policy.

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....