A new Oregon gun control law was recently passed by the governor in an attempt to establish Extreme Risk Protection orders. The governor, who signed the bill with no comment remarked previously that the new law was the, “best way to ensure 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.”
Unfortunately, the law is a far cry from being protective of individual gun owners’ rights as it allows police to confiscate a valid owner’s firearm without providing them with their day in court before the confiscation occurs. While those affected by the law would have a right to be heard in court, the owner would not be able to appeal their rights in court until after they have been revoked.
In essence, the law is multi-faceted allowing police officers to confiscate a gun owner’s weapon if the police, a family member, or close friend reports that they pose a risk to themselves or others. Once the order is established by the court, the individual will be prevented from buying firearms or ammunition for the duration of a year, and the police will have the right to seize the owner’s weapons or require them to be stored with a gun dealer for the duration of the order.
While this new law was created to reduce the risk of firearm related suicides that has been on the rise in recent years, it is doing it at the expense of law-abiding citizen’s rights and requires them to prove that they are not a danger to themselves or others. This situation could cause many well-meaning family members and friends to have their loved one’s rights stripped from them for something that may be no more than an unfounded concern or an attempt at revenge.
In the United States, a citizen has the right to due process, which requires that a person is informed of the crime they are being charged with as well as the rights they are entitled to during the criminal process. After they are informed, they may be temporarily detained until they are seen by a judge. The proceedings will then proceed to trial and a sentencing phase if convicted, but during this entire process, a citizen’s rights may not be limited until they are convicted and sentenced in a court of law.
The new Oregon law SB 719A will have citizens subject to the restriction of rights based on suspicion or presumption. It is then their responsibility if they want those rights back to schedule a hearing and prove they deserve them, in essence violating some of the most important laws that established the founding of this country.
In addition to the fact that the law will allow citizens to be stripped of their 2nd amendment right to bear arms before they are granted the right to due process, it will also put the determination of one’s mental state and intention in the hands of people that are not qualified in the mental health field or even have the tools to make a valid determination on one’s mental health. Quite simply we have mental health professional make these types of assessments because they are the ones who are properly trained to do so.
The new law also provides gun restriction requirements for those who have had a restraining order filed against them by a significant other as well as allowing the indefinite delay of gun sales to be completed. The previous law gave the state three days to determine whether or not a gun purchase could go through. With the new law, this period could be extended indefinitely, which in effect will inhibit a citizen’s right to obtain personal protection.
While the intentions of the new gun confiscation law in Oregon may have started with good intentions, to achieve the desired results, the state is allowing law-abiding citizens to be stripped of their rights without due process and proper assessment. The new law will end up having more citizen’s in court explaining why they deserve their rights instead of the court system fighting to protect the rights of their citizens.
Whatever happened to DUE PROCESS?
Of course, Oregon is rapidly becoming California North. And Washington isn’t far behind. Seems the pioneer spirit that brought folks westerly stopped at Idaho, Utah and Arizona.
This seems to be prevalent on both coasts.