Any time you get bipartisan support in Congress for, well, anything watch your wallet. And your gun rights. As Michigan Democrat Rep. Debbie Dingell announced yesterday, she and Michigan Republican Fred Upton are fixin’ to introduce a federal level Extreme Risk Protection Order bill.
The two chair the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus group that’s looking at ways to do something about gun violence.
As she told Fox News yesterday,
…Fred Upton and I who is the co-chair of the Problem Solvers gun group are looking at introducing (an extreme risk protection bill) with Susan Brooks of Indiana at the national level.
A family who knows that someone in their family could be a danger to themselves or to others needs to have a tool that they can take that gun away. And law enforcement needs that as well.
Ah, but the devil, as always, lies in the details.
Due process needs to be built into it. It’s called red flag laws. Indiana…Vice President Mike Pence and Governor Mitch Daniels have supported it in the state of Indiana. It’s been used 800 times. If somebody’s a threat and you know they’re a threat, you need to have the tools to take that gun away.
Dingell’s basing her bill on Indiana’s confiscation law. A third party can claim that an individual is dangerous and a judge can order confiscation, all without the individual being present to defend himself.
While a law enforcement officer can get a warrant to confiscate a firearm from someone he deems dangerous, the law gives LEOS the right to confiscate weapons without benefit of a warrant.
Sec. 3. (a) If a law enforcement officer seizes a firearm from an individual whom the law enforcement officer believes to be dangerous without obtaining a warrant, the law enforcement officer shall submit to the circuit or superior court having jurisdiction over the individual believed to be dangerous a written statement under oath or affirmation describing the basis for the law enforcement officer’s belief that the individual is dangerous.
(b) The court shall review the written statement submitted under subsection (a). If the court finds that probable cause exists to believe that the individual is dangerous, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to retain the firearm. If the court finds that there is no probable cause to believe that the individual is dangerous, the court shall order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to return the firearm to the individual.
(c) This section does not authorize a law enforcement officer to perform a warrantless search or seizure if a warrant would otherwise be required.
The gun owner then would have 14 days to petition the court, trying to convince them that the officer was wrong and that his guns should be returned.
Again, there are certainly people who suffer from mental illness and shouldn’t have access to firearms. But no one should be denied due process in determining whether one of their fundamental civil rights will be denied. Any court that’s considering the confiscation of a law-abiding citizen’s firearms should be required to make that determination in the presence of that person. Period.