By: Teresa Mull
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) has signed a bill into law that prevents municipalities in the state from enacting red flag gun confiscation laws.
The Oklahoman reports:
Senate Bill 1081 prevents Oklahoma cities and towns from enacting policies that would allow a court or other entity to restrict gun access to people deemed to be an imminent danger.
Sen. Nathan Dahm, (R-Broken Arrow) and Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon) sponsored the bill.
“Dahm and Steagall said they were concerned about the possibility of the federal government enacting such a law or offering grants to states or localities to implement "red flag" policies,” the Oklahoman reports.
Steagall said in a statement concerning the bill:
“I find it impossible for any red-flag law to respect due process or the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. I have taken the oath to protect our Constitution seven times throughout my 22 years of service and nine deployments in the military, an oath that I take very seriously. I will not stand idly by and let this freedom be stripped from us.”
Red flag laws, or “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPOs) have become an increasingly popular, so-called “common sense” form of gun control legislation in recent months. GPM has reported repeatedly on the dangers of these laws:
1. Law-abiding gun owners are guilty until proven innocent under ERPOs.
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. They can take these accusations to court, even though you’ve never been charged with or convicted of a crime. At that point, you are on defense to try to convince the judge why you should be able to keep your guns and your Second Amendment rights. These laws are a gross violation of the rights guaranteed to us as American citizens by the Fourth Amendment.
2. ERPOs open up a Pandora’s Box of ways for cunning lawyers and conniving family members to exploit gun owners.
Red flag ERPO 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.
Some ERPO bills restrict those who can report “high risk” individuals to family and law-enforcement, whereas some laws would expand the list to allow just about anybody to accuse.
The list of what violations you can be reported for is all over the place. If you drank beer one night, and someone took that the wrong way or thought you were out of control, they could take that to court. If someone were in your house and felt your guns were not stored properly, it could be grounds for a report. If you made a comment to someone or seemed depressed, virtually raising any type of “mental health” red flag could end with you battling for your Second Amendment rights in court.
3. The time frame for confiscation can go on for months.
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. In some instances, the government would hold onto your guns for you; other bills have a neutral third party holding onto your guns.
4. Both political parties are supporting ERPOs.
Many would have you believe that Democrats led the charge for gun control in the wake of the horrific school shootings of 2018. But nothing could be further from the truth. Republicans are leading efforts as well.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.