Scary: Red Flag Laws Passing In House

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Red Flag Laws. Anti-gunners love them for exactly the reason that pro-gun people hate them: they circumvent the Constitution so that anti-gunners can take away firearms from innocent people.

People who have been paying attention know this. But the scary part is that there are people in power who actually think that they are a good idea, not just on a state level, but on a national scale. Jacob Sullum writes,

This week the House Judiciary Committee approved the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. The legislation would provide grants to encourage the passage and enforcement of “red flag” laws, which are supposed to prevent people from possessing firearms when they are deemed a threat to themselves or others. The bill’s standards for grant eligibility vividly illustrate the due process issues raised by such laws. Far from encouraging states to include robust due process protections, the bill would encourage them to slap together the weakest elements of the existing statutes.

The original version of the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Salud Carbajal (D–Calif.) in February, included very loose criteria for red flag laws. An amendment by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D–N.Y.) made the bill even more permissive.

In Nadler’s version, petitioners—who, depending on the state, may include a long list of relatives and acquaintances as well as police officers and prosecutors—could obtain an ex parte gun confiscation order if a judge decides there is “reasonable cause” to believe the respondent “poses a danger of causing harm” to himself or others. That determination would be made without any input from the respondent, who at this stage is not notified and has no opportunity to rebut the claims against him. Contrary to the bill’s name, the danger the respondent allegedly poses would not need to be “extreme,” substantial, or even significant. Furthermore, no time frame is specified, so the risk would not have to be imminent, which you might think would be a requirement for an ex parte order.

That initial order could last up to a month, at which point the respondent would finally get a hearing, although he wouldn’t have a right to legal representation if he can’t afford it. The judge could issue a final order if, based on “a preponderance of the evidence,” a respondent seems to pose “a danger” to himself or others. Again, any level of risk would do, and the danger could be near or distant. The order could last “for a specified period of time” or until terminated by another order—i.e., indefinitely. Given the standard of proof (which is equivalent to any probability greater than 50 percent) and the level of danger required (anything greater than zero), respondents could lose their Second Amendment rights for a year—or longer, depending on what state legislators decide to allow—even if it was 99.9 percent certain that they never would have hurt themselves or anyone else.

The minimum standards prescribed by Nadler’s bill seem to have been crafted so that all the jurisdictions that already have red flag laws—17 states and the District of Columbia—could qualify for grants. The bill thus would lower the bar to the level of the jurisdictions with the weakest due process protections.

In every jurisdiction but two, for example, an ex parte order is supposed to be based on a risk that is “imminent,” “immediate,” or “in the near future.” Nadler’s bill dispenses with that requirement, the better to accommodate D.C. and Massachusetts. The usual time limit on ex parte orders under the existing laws ranges from one to three weeks, with 14 days the most common choice (although ex parte orders can last up to 45 days in Delaware and up to six months in Maryland if they are extended). Nadler’s limit is 30 days.

More than three-quarters of existing red flag laws require “clear and convincing evidence” for a final order. Nadler’s bill says the weaker “preponderance of the evidence” standard is fine, so D.C., Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey needn’t worry about missing out on federal money. Even among those looser jurisdictions, all but Massachusetts require a “significant” danger, which is hard to define but is at least more than any danger at all, the standard set by Nadler’s bill.

Finally, Nadler’s bill imposes no limit at all on the length of final orders, which under existing laws generally last a year (although they can be renewed in most of the states for another year). The two exceptions are Indiana and New Jersey, where gun confiscation orders last until the respondent files a petition and persuades a judge that he does not pose a danger to himself or others. Under Nadler’s bill, that’s fine too.

So, not only are anti-gun nutcases in the House able to put forth national red flag laws, but there is support in the Senate from supposedly pro-gun Republican politicians like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

These red flag bills need to be crushed and never come back. Contact your Congressional representatives in both the House and the Senate and tell them clearly that you want no red flag laws and no gun control laws at all. Period. End of story.

18 COMMENTS

  1. So it’s passed now to the Senate, where every Republican Senator is beginning to grow a set, because of the Democrat impeachment inquiry. It’s going to burn and crash like the Hindenburg on the Senate floor. The bipartisan compromise is over, done with and dead. This impeachment fiasco is going to bite the Dems in the arse. By pulling this impeachment stunt, there is now NO reason to work with Democrats, as they’ve proved by their refusal to see any other point or idea but their own.

  2. This “Red Flag” law belongs to non other than the back stabber Graham, with help from Rubio. This is being liked by most all in our gov. and will make anyone a crook. We know the gov never abuses any kind of law so what could go wrong, Right ? If this passes Trump will not get re-elected, I know I won’t vote for him, so keep buying ammo while you can because this law will push us into the next civil war !!

    • Jasper needs to get his jollies somewhere other than irritating the American public. Appoint him as ambassador to Iran for life so he could be around like minded people. I’m sure they will listen to his bullshit!!!!

  3. hell I was hit with the red flag law in NY in 2013-AND ITS STILL GOING ON !!!CONTACT MY FEDERAL SENATORS:SCHUMER AND GILLIBRAND OR EVEN MY STATE SENATOR FUNKE OR STATE ASSEMBLYMAN KOLB:
    surely you jest !!Congressman Chris Collins is no prize either.

  4. Stand up AMERICA!!
    ANYONE, in either party who backs this or in any way infringes on our 3nd amendment MUST BE VOTED OUT.
    They are NOT Patriotic Americans!!!
    NEVER SURRENDER YOUR RIGHTS. NEVER!!!!

  5. If there are enough real Americans left, the body count will be high when if/when this law passes. If the 2ndgoes down, people have no ability to defnd the other unalienable righte which the Constitution was supposed to “secure”. Those who are unwilling to kill and die to defend their rights and freedoms will inevitably and deservedly lose them.

  6. Insanity is the rule of the day in DC. Any and every Senator and Congressman who votes for this abomination. Trying to pass itself as a law. Have clearly violated their oath of office. By failing to support and defend our constitution against any enemy. Both foreign and domestic, and should be swiftly removed from office. Tried as a traitor to our country, in a court of law, and when found guilty, given long prison sentences. As well as being barred from ever holding any elected or appointed office for life.

  7. This is truly alarming. They focus on mass shootings but lose sight of the fact that many more are killed across the land by CRIMINALS WITH GUNS! So they want to take away guns from law abiding citizens? Criminals will always have guns. The issue is to close the door of illegal gun sales from the black market! How can this country send a man on the moon and not be able to stop this and children being taken off our streets and disappearing? Maybe they should prioritize these issues instead of “red flag laws”.

  8. We’re supposed to trust a activist judge who has an agenda? Where is the due process? Look up what Ben Franklin said about safety.
    Bill, you’ll never stop illegal black market sales.

    • Due process ? Are you kidding ? This law is to SAVE LIVES.
      Due process proceedings take TIME and there is no time to waste !
      A life may be lost because of “Due Process”.
      Do rigid adherence to archaic laws mean more than the life of a Child.

      I’ll bet you kick puppies too.

      *snark off*

  9. It’s amazing that so many politicians have never heard of the phrase “Due process”. Which is what these laws violate. First your guilty and then we have your trial. Jesus it sounds like the Soviet Union is back in business. Well if and when these red flag laws pass then its finally time. A time to have two sets of guns. The ones in the safe and maybe people know about. The other set of guns in the hide, safe for a rainy day. Should the true tyranny and the socialist agenda rear its ugly head. Besides the old adage 1 is none and 2 is one is a prescription I have long taken for my health.

  10. When I joined the Marines I gave my oath to support and defend the Constitution against ALL enemies foreign and domestic. I have not withdrawn my oath. ANYONE attacking OUR Constitution is an ENEMY!!!

  11. If the stewards of our Constitution go around and circumvent it, then they shall be swiftly dealt with. If these pass, it’s time to for the True Government, us, the citizenry, to forcibly remove these traitors from power. And voting does not work obviously.
    Molon Labe.

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