By: Teresa Mull
A new report reveals gun confiscations made in the name of “public safety” have hit an all-time high.
According to Fox News:
More than 1,700 orders allowing guns to be seized for weeks, months, or up to a year were issued in 2018 by the courts after they determined the individuals were a threat to themselves or others. The actual number is probably much higher since the data was incomplete and didn't include California, where newly-installed Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has moved swiftly to curtail gun rights.
Gunpowder Magazine has reported repeatedly on “Extreme Risk Prevention Orders” (ERPOs), otherwise known as “red flag” gun confiscation laws, which are pitched as a way to get guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.
Red flag laws are unconstitutional and present many problems, as GPM’s Ted Patterson noted in 2018:
What does “high risk” mean? Who defines whether someone is a danger to themselves or others? Would such measures be effective?
In different cases, the shooters have shown no history of a criminal record or documented mental illness. And even cases in which there were documented issues, the government bungled addressing them anyway (Parkland, Florida’s Nicholas Cruz comes to mind).
Because criminal records or documented evidence of a “high risk” individual have sometimes been hard to find for shooters, ERPO laws are designed to give the government power to take guns away based on the simple fear of someone taking action.
Spreading like Wildfire
Legislation to establish red flag laws is proposed in states across the country every day.
Fox News reports:
Florida passed a red flag law as part of a gun-control package in the wake of the shooting. Aside from New York, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont also have adopted variations since then. California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington already had similar laws.
Several states are debating them this year, including New Mexico, where two students were killed in a school shooting in December 2017.
Florida courts granted more than 1,000 orders in the first nine months of its new law. Broward County, which includes Parkland, has been at the forefront, accounting for roughly 15 percent of cases statewide.
AG Nominee Supports Them
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, attorney general nominee William Barr voiced support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) beloved red flag gun confiscation laws.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 to advance Barr’s nomination to the full Senate,” the National Association for Gun Rights reported last week. “Now, the Senate floor is the last barrier between Barr and the office of America’s ‘top cop.’”
Barr has said of red flag laws:
"...We need to push along the ERPOs (Extreme Risk Protection Orders), so we have these red flag laws to supplement the use of the background check to find out if someone has some mental disturbance. This is the single most important thing I think we can do in the gun control area to stop these massacres from happening in the first place."
Feinstein, who has introduced gun control legislation numerous times since she was elected in 1992 and recently re-introduced a so-called “assault weapons” ban, heartily approved.
“Thank you, I’d like to work with you in that regard,” Feinstein said.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.