Florida’s Extreme Risk Protection law, commonly known as a red flag law, has been used liberally by law enforcement across the state, including by many Republican sheriffs.
Since the bill was signed into law by then-Governor Rick Scott in March 2018, the red flag law has been used more than 3,500 to separate people from their firearms.
If it were really necessary to issue all these gun confiscation orders, you would think that mass acts of violence happened multiple times a day before the law passed, but that is simply not the case.
According to the Associated Press:
To get an order in Florida, police agencies must file a request with a civil court, citing serious mental illness or threats a person has made. If the judge agrees, the person must surrender their firearms to police. Within two weeks, a hearing is held during which the judge decides whether to take the person’s weapons away for a year. Police agencies can apply for an extension if there is evidence a person remains a threat after a year. If not, the guns are returned.
In other words, a judge rules that a person should have all firearms seized without that person knowing there was a hearing or even an accusation until the police show up as his/her door. After that happens, the person must then prove that he is competent enough to possess a firearm instead of being presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The person isn’t charged with a crime, so he isn’t entitled to an attorney, which means that if he wants one, he must pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to get his rights back.
This law is a clear violation of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution and it has a chilling effect on the First amendment.
When it passed in 2018, the red flag law was championed by Republican leadership in the Florida Legislature and was supported by 67 NRA A-rated Republicans as a knee-jerk reaction to the act of a madman in Parkland, FL.
But not every Republican was on board with this gun control.
“Florida’s red flag law was an impulsive mistake to ‘do something’ after the tragic shooting. I swore an oath of office to ‘support, protect and defend the US Constitution,’” said State Rep. Mike Hill (R–Pensacola). “The red flag law is clearly unconstitutional on many fronts. Fidelity to my oath requited that I file legislation to repeal it.”
This year, Rep Hill is sponsoring HB 6003, which would repeal the red flag gun confiscation law as well as the other gun control passed in the post-Parkland legislation.
The bill is not likely to pass this year, since it has not received a single hearing, and the 2020 legislative session is over halfway through.
It also doesn’t help that the sponsors of the 2018 gun control bill are now Senate President Bill Galvano and Speaker of the House Jose Oliva.
Even this year, Sen. Galvano and several other influential Republicans tried to push through another gun control bill that would have implemented universal background checks (gun registration) and expanded the red flag law.
Patriots in Florida need to fight back now before they lose their rights for good.
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Southeast Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.