Rhode Island ACLU opposes Extreme protective firearm removal

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Rhode Island ACLU opposes Extreme protective firearm removal

Postby jeep45238 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:22 am

While the Rhode Island ACLU is not pro-gun, they do raise important points about the dangers of "extreme protective orders" that enable the police to remove guns from people deemed by a judge to be a potential threat to themselves or others. There is some statewide version of this that was passed as an executive order by the governor and is now being voted upon as a law.

The ACLU acknowledges that in some cases where there is a preponderance of frightening information, as in the case of the Florida shooter, where these laws can be valuable and should be applied.

But they are rightfully concerned about the low standards that these orders require, plus the failure of due process, plus the fact that it puts the burden of proof on the gunowner to get the guns back, as well as in the case of Rhode Island, which confiscates them for one year and puts the person's name in the NICS database of prohibited people.

Here is some of the important points that it makes:

"While the ACLU of Rhode Island recognizes the bill’s laudable goal, we are deeply concerned about its breadth, its impact on civil liberties, and the precedent it sets for the use of coercive measures against individuals not because they are alleged to have committed any crime, but because somebody believes they might, someday, commit one.

While aimed at responding to “red flags,” the bill sets a low threshold for judicial intervention, particularly when one compares it to the myriad and blatant “red flag” warnings that the Parkland shooter left but that were ignored by law enforcement agencies. And, contrary to popular belief, the bill is not limited to addressing people who pose an immediate threat of harm. In short, there is a great disparity between whom the bill actually affects and the high-profile shooting incidents that make passage of legislation like this seem so pressing.

* The court order authorized by this legislation could be issued without any indication that the person poses an imminent threat to others.

* The order could be issued without any evidence that the person ever committed, or has even threatened to commit, an act of violence with a firearm.

* The court order would require the confiscation for at least a year of any firearms lawfully owned by the person and place the burden on him or her to prove by clear and convincing evidence that they should be returned after that time. If denied, the person would have to wait another year to petition for return of his or her property.

* The person could be subjected to a coerced mental health evaluation, and the court decision on that and all these other matters would be made at a hearing where the person would not be entitled to appointed counsel.

* With the issuance of an order, police would have broad authority to search the person’s property.

* The standard for seeking and issuing an order is so broad it could routinely be used against people who engage in “overblown political rhetoric” on social media or against alleged gang members when police want to find a shortcut to seize lawfully-owned weapons from them.

Here is a link to the whole document--well worth reading:
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