On Friday, “Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a bill establishing circumstances under which citizens of that state could be forced to surrender their firearms to government agents,” thenewamerican.com reports. According to the bill’s language . . .
A law enforcement officer or a family or household member of a person may file a petition requesting that the court issue an extreme risk protection order enjoining the person from having in the person’s custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing or receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive, a deadly weapon.
To secure an Extreme Risk Protection Order the petitioner need only satisfy a judge that a decree’s needed. The resulting ERPO authorizes the police to search and seize any weapons and ammunition “not voluntarily surrendered to the appropriate government entity (or its authorized agents) within 30 days.”
The ERPO hearing is held ex parte; the accused is not present to defend themselves. Even without considering the Second Amendment protected right to keep and bear arms, the ERPO violates the accused’s Sixth Amendment protected right to a fair trial.
Worth noting: no judge is going to be “that guy” — the judge who denied an ERPO and let a mentally ill person shoot themselves or others. The chances that a judge will deny a request for an ERPO are somewhere between slim and none (and Slim just left town).
For all intents and purposes, the accused is guilty until proven innocent.
The fact that a police officer — any police officer — can petition the court for an ERPO is equally worrying. When the state can take away your gun rights, and guns, based on the uncontested testimony of a representative of the state, we’re heading into dangerous waters.
If and when the Supreme Court has another conservative judge sitting on the bench, the nation’s highest court can strike down this and similar desecrations of America’s most important legal protections. Until then, Oregonians will have to trust that Governor Brown and her fellow disarmists don’t abuse a law that’s inherently abusive. Good luck with that.