WASHINGTON, D.C. -(Ammoland.com)- One proposed gun control that has support on both sides of the issue is extreme risk protection orders (ERPO), better known as “red flag” laws.
Red flag laws allow a gun owner’s firearms to be stripped from them by police if they are reported to be a danger to themselves or others. In most cases, the gun owner isn’t aware that an ERPO has been taken out until police show up to execute the order. The gun owner then must prove that they are not a danger to anyone to get their property back. They must hire a lawyer at their own expense, meaning that poverty-stricken gun owners are less likely to fight an ERPO.
Many in the firearms community believe that red flag laws not only violate a person’s Second Amendment rights, but it also violates the gun owner’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. Many claim that ERPOs violate the right to due process and flips the burden of proof to the gun owner.
Since this gun control measure is the most likely to pass in Congress, AmmoLand News has decided to look at gun rights advocacy and industry groups’’ opinions on red flag laws. AmmoLand News has reached out to various national groups to gauge where the gun world falls into the red flag debate. It is essential to understand where these groups stand.
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)
NSSF is a powerhouse in the gun industry. It is the largest industry trade group for firearms. A vast majority of gun manufacturers are members of the NSSF. NSSF puts on SHOT Show every year in Las Vegas, the largest firearms industry event.
NSSF issued a state to AmmoLand News stating that the organization does not oppose red flag laws if due process is included. The organization noted that it had serious concerns about ex parte orders. An ex parte order is where one side (in this case, the gun owner) is not present for the hearing. It is questionable whether the NSSF is talking about a red flag law.
“NSSF has never opposed extreme risk protection orders or so-called ‘red flag’ laws, so long as those laws take into consideration Constitutional Due Process rights,” Mark Oliva, Managing Director, Public Affairs, told AmmoLand News. “We have always expressed serious concerns with ex parte orders. Unfortunately, these laws are ripe for potential abuse, and anyone subject to these orders must have the right to confront evidence and witnesses in front of a judge.”
Gun Owners of America (GOA)
GOA strongly opposes any type of red flag law. The gun rights group is known for vigorously opposing all gun control laws and has worked to derail attempts by Congress to pass gun control measures in the past.
“So-called ‘red flag’ laws are gun confiscations, and there is no amount of due process that can reconcile them with the Constitution,” Aidan Johnston, Director of Federal Affairs, told AmmoLand News. “GOA opposes all ‘red flag’ laws no matter what fake ‘due process’ is included.”
Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC)
FPC is another group that has strongly opposed gun control measures on the state and federal levels. The group has worked to sue over gun laws across the country. Several cases are working their way through the federal court system.
“FPC has always opposed so-called ‘red flag’ laws, sometimes characterized as ‘extreme risk protection order’ or ‘gun violence restraining order’ laws,” the group said in a released statement. “On practical, policy, and Constitutional grounds.”
Second Amendment Foundation (SAF)
SAF is another large gun rights group. SAF is one of the largest and well-funded pro-gun organizations in the country. SAF has been instrumental in challenging and defeating unconstitutional laws around the country.
“We all want to keep any kind of weapon out of the hands of anyone who is a danger to themselves or others,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of SAF, told AmmoLand News. “But these so-called Red Flag laws do not afford due process protections that are critical to protect fundamental enumerated constitutional rights.”
Second Amendment Organization (2AO)
2AO is a non-profit gun rights group that focuses on education. The group has opposed various gun control measures in the past.
“We already have legal tools to address situations involving people who are threats (protective orders) and people who need mental health evaluations (involuntary commitments),” Rob Pincus, Executive Vice President, told AmmoLand News. “Red Flag Laws are disingenuous, thinly veiled, Gun Control because they create a mechanism to take someone’s firearms, but they do not involve mental health care professionals to diagnose or treat any real problem.”
Hold My Guns (HMG)
HMG is a non-profit that arranges safe firearms storage for a gun owner in crisis. The organization believes that solutions to suicides involving firearms can be solved without government intervention.
“To paraphrase John Adams, if we do not have due process, we are the same as cattle,” Sarah Albrecht, Founder and Executive Director told AmmoLand News. “Red flag laws are without due process. We vehemently oppose Red Flag laws and caution that anti-gun groups are trying to change the definition of due process. We want to remind everyone that a right delayed is a right denied.”
National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR)
NAGR is a controversial gun group that opposes any type of gun legislation.
“We are opposed to any and all so-called ‘Red Flag’ gun confiscation laws — whether at the state level or federal level,” said Chris Stone, Director of Communications. “All ‘Red Flag’ gun confiscation laws infringe on your due process and Second Amendment rights. We’ve written extensively about how dangerous these laws are and why we oppose them.”
National Rifle Association (NRA)
The NRA is the oldest gun lobbying group in the country. The NRA once released a video with the former head of the NRA-ILA, Chris Cox, implying the organization supported red flag laws. That stance has seemed to have changed. Although the group did not give AmmoLand News a direct comment, the group did tell Axios that red flag laws are a “non-starter.” The NRA also pointed AmmoLand News to a released statement on the NRA-ILA website stating that the group opposes red flag laws.
“The NRA will fight any attempt to treat the Second Amendment as a second-class, disfavored right,” The statement read. “This includes gun control disguised as so-called ‘red flag’ legislation, which empowers judges to nullify Second Amendment rights with the stroke of a pen and flies in the face of due process, the presumption of innocence, and fundamental fairness.”
Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, Inc. (FRAC)
FRAC is another industry group much like NSSF. FRAC was started to fight back against ATF overreach. It is no surprise that FRAC is against red flag laws.
“FRAC’s core mission is to fight back against the ATF’s long history of regulatory abuse,” Travis White, CEO told AmmoLand. “As such, FRAC would be staunchly opposed to any bill that gives the government additional authority to unilaterally dictate terms to lawful gun owners without due process of law.”
The anti-gun publications claim that the gun rights community is split on the topic of red flag laws. After talking to most groups in the gun rights world, it seems like almost everyone is on the same page. We also believe that most gun owners oppose red flag laws. AmmoLand News encourages all readers to contact their Senators to tell them that you oppose any law that violates our Constitutional rights.
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About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.