Salt Lake City, Utah — Utah HB 209: The bill is called the “Extreme Risk Protection Order Act,” or a “Red Flag law” that allows “temporary” confiscation of a person’s guns if they are deemed “dangerous.” The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.
Representative Steve Handy (R-Davis County) is the bill’s sponsor. He calls it having a “common sense conversation,” and says he is a gun owner and concealed permit holder. Gun rights groups are opposed to the legislation, and Rep Handy would like to figure out why.
“I’m a gun owner. I have a concealed carry permit. But why can’t we have the conversation?” Rep. Steve Handy
The threshold of evidence is almost nonexistent in the Red Flag Laws around the country- which simply means that there is no due process involved in the gun confiscation. The persons involved can say anything whether it’s true or not about a gun owner, subjecting him or her to unjust confiscation.
In fact, the filing is an “exparte” protective order, to which the respondent has NOT had the opportunity to respond. That is a standard section across the country in states that have adopted the ERPO.
Example: In November, a man in Anne Arundel County, Maryland was the subject of a “red flag” to law enforcement by a relative who didn’t like how he managed the care of another relative. She told law enforcement that he was “dangerous.” They went to his home to confiscate his guns and fatally shot him. The man died because of a family dispute, not because he was “dangerous.”
THAT’s the danger. Naturally, no one wants guns to be in the hands of mentally ill. But without legal protections and proper due process, the results, like the case above, can be deadly. And completely ineffective in stopping violent people from doing violent things.
The Utah bill proposed by Rep Handy allows gun confiscation for anyone who has made a “recent threat of violence” or has been deemed “dangerous.” When a reporter asked him if it would reduce the number of suicides in the state, he said,
“We don’t know; I can’t look in a crystal ball and say that. But the data seems to indicate—from other states that we’ve studied—that it would.” Steve Handy
“Seems to indicate” is not a solid answer.
California has a red flag law, but it did not prevent 12 innocents from being killed in the November 7, 2018, Borderline Bar & Grill shooting. Florida has a red flag law, but it did not prevent the three innocents from being killed in the August 26, 2018, Jacksonville landing attack.
Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown for Gun Safety is pushing confiscatory gun laws for every state.
Featured photo: Rep Steve Handy screenshot via kjzz