The governor of Oregon signed Democrat and even Republican supported gun control legislation that would allow authorities to strip firearms from law-abiding citizens.
The bill, signed Wednesday by Gov. Kate Brown, would permit state authorities to seize the firearms of anyone who has been determined as a threat to themselves or others – without any judicial process at all. (Any one could state ANY thing and it could be used to justify taking one’s firearms.)
The ‘intent’ (?!) is to reduce the number of gun-related suicides which has been on the rise recently in the state, but Second Amendment advocates were incensed.
The legislation supposedly closes two “loopholes” in the state’s gun laws. Currently, the state police have three days to figure out if a potential gun buyer has cleared a background check before the sale must go through. Now, that waiting period can extend indefinitely.
Another section would ban firearm possession – or allow confiscation – from anyone who has been the subject of a restraining order filed by a significant other.
The Oregon Firearms Federation has criticized the new law, saying it would simply harass legitimate gun owners. The group’s director, Kevin Starrett, said allowing police to indefinitely delay a gun purchase would “eliminate the one small safeguard that protects a person’s right to have the means to protect themselves.”
Brown, a Demorat, signed the bill without comment on Wednesday, but in remarks to lawmakers, she said the law is the “best way that a person who is at risk of harming themselves or others is identified, while still ensuring their rights are protected by a court review.”
Of course, this is nonsense. You can’t take away someone’s rights, then force them to go to court after the fact to have them restored. Due process of law involves having a hearing and trial before one’s rights are taken away, not after.
The law does contain a provision prohibiting filing a false restraining order, Guns.com reports. Those filing a false restraining order would be subject to up to a year in prison or a fine of $6,250.
“By allowing a law enforcement officer, family member, or household member to seek the new law, it would allow people who are not mental health professionals, who may be mistaken and who may only have minimal contact with the respondent, to file a petition with the court and testify on the respondent’s state of mind,” the NRA’s legislative lobby arm said.
Last month, the dangers of this kind of law are rather ominous:
When a person is arrested for a crime, they are informed of the crime they are being charged with and informed of the rights that they have during the arrest process. They are temporarily held in a jail cell until they have a hearing in front of a judge. The judge can then grant bail until a trial date is set. That person’s rights are not completely restricted unless and until a verdict of guilty is reached by a jury.
While being arrested for a crime is not a fun situation, you are not immediately locked up in a cage for years without having your day in court and the right to legal representation to argue your case. But in Oregon (as well as in California for the past several years), that foundational component of the law is being thrown out. While ostensibly for benign purposes, the potential for arbitrary enforcement of this kind of law is a danger too great to risk.