By: Teresa Mull
The Jacksonville, Florida Sheriff’s Office has created a task force to seize firearms from people under accusation, without due process.
The new Risk Protection Order [RPO] is intended to prevent …mass shootings — and other violent incidents — by allowing citizens to report potential risks to law enforcement officers, who can follow a process to take firearms away from those deemed a risk.
Under the law, once someone is reported, law enforcement must verify the person meets the criteria laid out in the law. Then a judge reviews the case, and if the judge approves, the person’s weapons are taken, and they cannot buy another gun for up to a year.
If someone’s gun is taken away, they can ask the court for their gun back after the year is up, but then they must go through a background check before a judge approves the request it and releases their gun to them.
One Floridian has already had 23 guns seized, and ten RPO (also known as “red flag confiscation”) cases are pending. Fox News reported in July more than 450 Florida residents had been ordered to give up their guns under the new law.
“What they’re doing with this law is taking away people’s rights based on a judge’s impression of mental health rather than an expert’s impression of mental health,” Eric Friday, a gun rights attorney, told News4.
“If the issue is truly about the concern for somebody’s mental health, the answer is, first, treatment,” Friday said. “But also, they may need to be in a facility somewhere, because if they’re such danger that they can’t own guns, (then) they’re too much of a danger to own a knife either.”
Friday noted that people flagged as unfit to own a gun aren’t eligible for a public defender, since they aren’t charged with a crime. Therefore, they’d have to represent themselves in court if they can’t afford a lawyer.
"Under this outrageous law, cops are empowered to raid your house and seize your firearms – those you rely on to protect yourself and your loved ones – simply on the pretense of a ‘tip’ from someone you may not even know," Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, told Gunpowder Magazine.
"Then a judge, ignorant of your mental state and unqualified to make a medical diagnosis, decides your fate," Brown said. "The result is a shocking violation of more than one of our constitutional rights. Power-hungry politicians in every state are ever-eager to disarm law-abiding citizens, and what’s happening in Florida is just the tip of the iceberg. Americans need to wake-up before it’s too late."
GPM reported earlier in 2018 on “Four Scary Facts Gun Owners Need to Know about Red Flag Gun Confiscation Bills.” Remember:
Law-abiding gun owners are guilty until proven innocent under ERPOs [Extreme Risk Protection Orders].
ERPOs open up a Pandora’s Box of ways for cunning lawyers and conniving family members to exploit gun owners.
The timeframe for confiscation can go on for months.
Both political parties are supporting ERPOs.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.