Gun control may be coming to a legislature near you.
In the wake of the recent mass shootings, elected officials on both sides of the political aisle are rallying around “red flag” legislation.
Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), informally known as red flag laws, are gaining traction in legislatures nationwide. Red flag laws are presented as a common-sense proposal to disarm people who allegedly present a danger to themselves or others around them.
Political leaders assure gun owners red flag laws won’t trample over their Second Amendment rights and are a middle ground solution. But the devil is in the details. After examining Colorado’s recent ERPO (which appears to be similar to the red flag laws in the handful of states that have passed such laws) I’ve discovered:
- Almost anyone can request an ERPO without even showing their face or providing their address.
- The initial report and hearing can be done over the phone, all while the accused is completely oblivious proceedings are taking place to have his or her firearms confiscated. There is no due process at this first hearing – which is the hearing where permission is given to confiscate gun.
- The first time the accused learns someone has reported them will be when local law enforcement shows up at their door with an order and a search warrant prepared to raid their home.
- The first time the accused has a chance to defend themselves is two weeks later. At that point, the burden of proof falls on the accused, not on the petitioner (who can actually provide affidavits rather than appear in court).
- If the accused is unable to prove themselves innocent, the confiscated firearms will be held for 364 days, during which time the accused only has only a single opportunity to ask the court to lift the order.
- There is zero accountability for false accusers.
- This law can easily be used by someone’s stalker or thief to have their victim disarmed.
- The ERPO will remain on a person’s permanent record even if dismissed.