by Nicole R. Fortune, Esq.
HB 687-FN is what is commonly referred to as a “Gun Grab Bill” that if passed would become what is commonly referred to as a “Red Flag Law” and with good reason. Throughout history, a red flag is symbolic of socialism, communism, Marxism and left-wing politics. In modern times a red flag is used to warn of impending danger; this bill demonstrates both because it is dangerous left-wing politics.
Safety Has Nothing to Do With It
The government does not know what goes on behind closed doors. This bill seeks to eliminate that undesired ignorance. It enables family members or intimate partners as petitioners to open those closed doors by obtaining“extreme risk protection orders” against other family members or intimate partners as respondents.
Welcoming big brother to not only peer, but walk through that door because law enforcement officers are specifically allowed to obtain these orders against any person, related, intimate or not.
The bill facially appears to be about protecting family and intimate partners from one another, and law enforcement from any citizen, by requiring an explanation as to what factors cause the petitioner to believe the respondent poses a significant risk of causing bodily injury to one’s self or others.
Yet, the bill limits that “significant risk” to only those who have custody or control over a firearm or ammunition. No other deadly or dangerous weapon applies. No other types of threats apply. To be clear, this bill’s supposed protections are only from someone who has a firearm or ammunition. As such, it isn’t about protection at all. It is a means to take away peoples’ rights to bear arms.
Buying/Owning a Firearm Justifies its Confiscation Under HB687
To obtain an extreme risk protection order there is no requirement that the petitioner proves the respondent is a credible threat. Only that the petitioner’s belief of significant risk is convincing.
The language of the bill states, “the affidavit shall contain specific factual allegation regarding the factors that give rise to the petitioner’s belief” – demonstrating this fact.
Notably, the bill specifically states that the respondent having recently purchased a firearm or ammunition is evidence to support the belief. Therefore, this bill sanctions infringement of the Second Amendment and not on an expert’s opinion that a respondent is a credible threat, but on a lay person’s belief the respondent is a significant risk – because he or she has a firearm or ammunition.
Loss of Rights – No Crime Required
Under the bill a petitioner may obtain temporary relief without notice to the respondent and the hearing may be conducted by telephone. All that is required for temporary relief is that the Court find the petitioner has shown “that there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent poses an immediate risk.” (According to the bill, however, evidence from the preceding twenty-four months can be used to establish immediacy.)
“Reasonableness” is the lowest legal standard of proof required under the law. By way of example, police officers must have reasonable suspicion to detain someone for as long as reasonably necessary to confirm or dispel the officer’s suspicion that a crime has been, is currently, or will be committed by the detained person. However, under this bill crime is irrelevant. The respondent need not have engaged, be currently engaging or potentially engaging in a crime at all.
Any temporary order issued by the Court shall prohibit the respondent from purchasing, possessing, or receiving any firearms and ammunition for the duration of the order and requires the relinquishment to law enforcement of any firearms, ammunition, and licenses to carry. The Court may issue other protective orders as well, but orders infringing upon the Second Amendment are a must.
Moreover, Second Amendment infringement is so paramount, this bill will also infringe upon the Fourth Amendment to ensure it.
HB687 – Say Goodbye to Your Fourth Amendment Rights Too!
The Fourth Amendment requires probable cause for searches and seizures, but this bill seeks to allow searches and seizures of firearms and ammunition provided the Court has “reason to believe that such firearms or ammunition have not been relinquished by the respondent.”
The bill goes even further, allowing this search warrant to extend to any place the firearms or ammunition are “reasonably believed” to be found. This would allow the search warrant to extend to friends and family of the respondent, gun clubs or shops, etc. – none of whom is a party to the action nor aware of the proceedings.
Furthermore, if law enforcement cannot immediately discern which firearms belong to the respondent or the holder, that person’s firearms will be taken too. Even after that person proves ownership, the firearms or ammunition will only be returned if,
“the lawful owner agrees to store the firearm or ammunition in a manner such the respondent does not have access to or control of the firearm or ammunition, and the law enforcement agency conducts a background check to determine the lawful owner is not prohibited…”
Ultimately, this bill seeks to grant the power to seize, not only the respondent’s firearms and ammunition, but any and everyone else’s that the bill can capture.
What Government Taketh away, it Need not Giveth Back.
Temporary orders remain in effect until a dismissal or final order is issued. Yet, the bill provides inadequate time for the respondent to mount a defense prior to the final hearing, which must occur the later of either fourteen days of filing the petition or within seven days of the respondent being served. Though it may be extended another seven days for good cause shown.
Ultimately, the respondent will have twenty-one days to dispute allegations that may go back as far as twenty-four months. The final order lasts twelve months, but the Court is required to remind the petitioner that they can extend the order another twelve months, every twelve months, so long as the order exists. Ergo, the order can be perpetual.
Unlike temporary relief that requires the petitioner to show “that there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent poses an immediate risk,” at the final hearing the petitioner must prove by “clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses a significant risk of causing bodily injury to [one’s self] or others by having a firearm or ammunition.” Accordingly, the petitioner must meet a higher burden of proof, but on a lower risk, that is, immediate risk is diminished to significant risk, but the risk must be actual.
If the petitioner is unable to meet the burdens established for either temporary or final orders the case will be dismissed.
The respondent’s firearms and ammunition, hoever, have already been seized. The respondent has already been reported to NICS. And the respondent will have to endure further hearings to reobtain that which has been taken, including independently seeking removal from NICS.
Because while the bill requires notification to NICS that the respondent is a prohibited person, there is no such corresponding requirement that the government notify NICS that the respondent is no longer a prohibited person.
What HB687 taketh away, it need not giveth back.
HB687 is A Gun-Grabbing Bill, Nothing More
History has ingrained in us to be wary and take warning upon seeing a red flag so much so that “raising a red flag” has become an idiom of notice and warning in our language.
The very fact that the law this bill seeks to create is described as a “red flag law” should cause every citizen to take pause and become learned about what danger this impending legislation is posing to not only us but our rights.
This bill allows the government to pass through closed doors, and under the guise of protection, it will strain the ties that bind – by using family members and intimate partners to grab one another’s firearms.
It uses law enforcement to grab citizens’ firearms.
It enables the government to infringe upon the rights of not only the respondent, but anyone else having a firearm that the long arm of the law can reach.
Not for the protection of the people, but for the disarmament of the people.
Editors Note – Title change, formatting and subheadings different from the original.