By: Teresa Mull
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R) wants to use federal tax dollars to help states enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), commonly called red flag gun confiscation laws.
The Sun-Sentinel reports:
Florida state lawmakers passed a red-flag law after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Rubio’s bill, reintroduced on Thursday, would provide federal funding to help other states implement similar laws.
“This idea has already proven successful in states like Florida, and it is my hope that this bill will get all the other states in the country to do the same thing,” Rubio said in a prepared statement.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) told Gunpowder Magazine in an interview regarding red flag laws, "If you take somebody’s God-given rights because you think they might someday commit a crime, now we’re in the realm of dystopian science fiction movies."
As Gunpowder Magazine reported earlier this year, red flag laws are pitched as a way to get guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others. Late last year, a Maryland man was killed by police who came to his house to try to take his weapons.
Baltimore’s CBS station reported at the time:
According to police, two officers serving a new Extreme Risk Protection Order (Red Flag Law), a Maryland protective order to remove guns from a household, shot and killed the man listed on that order.
That man was identified as Gary J. Willis of same address.
Officials said Willis answered the door while holding a handgun.
Willis then placed the gun next to the door.
When officers began to serve him the order, Willis became irate and grabbed his gun.
One of the officers tried to take the gun from Willis, but instead Willis fired the gun.
The second officer fired a gun, striking Willis. He died at the scene.
Gunpowder Magazine reported earlier this year that police invaded the home of a New Jersey veteran while he was at work and tried to seize his guns based on a conversation a child overheard at school.
According to theblaze.com, “Florida authorities have filed more than 400 orders to seize firearms from gun owners or ban them from owning one due to perceived risk to themselves or others, WFTS-TV reported.”
GPM reported that in Oregon last year, nearly 50 gun owners had their guns taken, and authorities seized more than 50 firearms from one Oregon county alone.
GPM also reported last month that, “President Trump’s Commission on School Safety just released a report with recommendations for ‘how to address school safety and violence.’ Seizing guns is among the commission’s suggestions.”
Rubio has come under fire in the past for his contradictory stance on the Second Amendment. The Orlando Sentinel reported in April 2018 that the Republican senator, who has an A-plus rating with the NRA, told “an angry crowd of parents and students” reeling from the Parkland school shooting that he would support a law taking away 18-year-olds’ rights to buy a firearm.
“About 1,000 miles north, District of Columbia officials could only shake their heads in disbelief,” the Sentinel further reported. “The city already had a law barring 18-year-olds from buying rifles, yet Rubio was the main senator pushing legislation to end that ban, as well as D.C.’s prohibition of assault weapons.”
Dangers of Red Flag Laws
Ted Patterson reported in 2018 for GPM on the dangers of red flag laws:
These bills open the floodgates for vindictive family members, friends, or John Q. Public to accuse you of almost anything as justification to take your firearms. These laws are a gross violation of the rights guaranteed to us as American citizens by the Fourth Amendments.
Red flag bills have been written so broadly on two fronts that in some instances, people are given near-endless possibilities by which to use the legal system to persecute gun owners.
ERPOs can last for weeks, months, or up to a year in cases where a gun owner would have to appear for repeated court hearings to try to win back his or her Constitutional rights.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.