Gun control-minded Delaware legislators are in lockstep with their California colleagues, working to enact their version of a Gun Violence Restraining Order. SB 83 would empower Delaware courts to confiscate firearms from alleged domestic abusers without any testimony from the accused. The legal term for the process is ex parte. And it’s none too popular amongst fans of civil rights . . .
As Wikipedia explains, “the availability of ex parte orders or decrees from both federal and state courts is sharply limited by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which provide that a person shall not be deprived of any interest in liberty or property without due process of law.”
In a delewareonline.com article entitled Reducing abusers’ access to guns to save women’s lives former Republican state legislator turned anti-domestic violence advocate Liane Sorenson [above, center] somehow fails to offer a definition of ex parte while sweeping away any and all objections.
A domestic abuse victim who seeks a PFA [Protection From Abuse] order may be granted a temporary “ex parte” order to cover the period before a formal hearing – but only after a judge carefully evaluates the complainant’s sworn testimony and finds “immediate and present danger.” Generally ex parte orders last no more than 10 days, at which point a full hearing occurs. SB 83 would prohibit the purchase of a gun by someone during the period when he or she is subject to an ex parte PFA order.
Under current law, when PFA orders are issued, a court may order the abuser to surrender temporarily her/his firearms. SB 83 extends that protection to the critical period between the issuance of an ex parte order and the formal hearing of the complaint.
The ex parte process is meant to prevent a violent crime and does not usurp anyone’s Second Amendment rights. Nor does the surrender of guns violate the due-process rights of the abuser. Courts have repeatedly upheld the procedures for domestic violence protective orders, including ex parte orders, against due process challenges.
So an ex parte order mandating the confiscation of a gun owner’s firearms issued by a judge without prior notice doesn’t violate an accused domestic abuser’s Second Amendment protections (not rights) because . . . it doesn’t. And an ex parte gun confiscation order doesn’t violate the alleged abuser’s right to due process because . . . it doesn’t.
This is what passes for logic in a world where feel-good legislation earns PC pols brownie points, where its defenders can’t offer any statistical evidence that the law is even necessary. Even if it was, Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms trumps questions of social utility. Except where it doesn’t.