Eleven states are considering measures to allow judges to bar citizens from owning guns if someone believes they are a threat to themselves or others. The Gun Violence Restraining Order takes away due process and allows police to raid homes and confiscate peoples’ firearms without warning. It also keeps those individuals from purchasing guns and ammo.
The states looking at this bill are New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan and Massachusetts. The law already exists in California and Connecticut.
In California, if a family member or law enforcement officer says someone is mentally ill and should have their gun confiscated, it’s a done deal.
Preventing crimes by mentally disturbed people is well-intended but not allowing due process is a serious violation of the Constitution. We should never lose this right. A person who is potentially mentally ill should still be allowed due process and the right to a defense.
These laws even put doctors in the position of reporting anyone they think might be too mentally ill as well as angry ex-spouses and even distant relatives. Even if judges make these decisions, they will quickly become rubber stamps.
The mentally ill can always find another way to kill themselves or others. They need help and, if necessary, they need to be involuntarily committed, a practice no longer feasible. In some of the mass murders, other weapons were used such as knives and cars.
Then there is this from UCLA law Professor Adam Winkler who put it this way: “The truth is that it is very rare to know in advance when someone is going to be dangerous with a firearm. This is not going to make a huge dent in our gun violence statistics.”
It does, however, make a huge dent in our Constitution.