See below, for more hypocrisy.
No, for once, I’m not going to talk about bump-fire stocks (anyone who doesn’t understand that problem by now can’t, or won’t, comprehend it).
Let’s talk about ERPOs. And the Vichy NRA.
Call them extreme risk protective orders, red flag orders, gun violence protection orders, or what have you, they had been floated for years, but became particularly popular after the Parkland school shooting. Rather irrationally, since the local, state, and federal authorities had plenty of time and warnings to stop the murder before he escalated to the deaths of humans (per reports, he’d been killing animals for years). The point was to deflect attention from their own failures. If only we’d had ERPOs (in addition to unused protective orders, unused Baker Act, unused arrests/indictments/convictions for what he’d already done, maybe even ignored prohibited person status), we could have stopped him.
Of course, the VNRA was blamed, too. So the VNRA had to put up their own deflector shields. They jumped on the ERPO bandwagon. Yeah, red flag laws are a great idea!
And the knowledgeable gun community — for once — exploded.
ERPOs have a little constitutional and moral problem.
I’m going to generalize, because the specifics vary from state to state. Getting a regular protective order is relatively easy. The person who thinks they may be threatened goes to a judge and asks for an order keeping the accused away from them. The court sets a hearing date. Parties involved show up and speak their piece. The judge decides if the order is justified, and if so issues it. He may set special conditions: some monitored contact, maybe zero contact, no threats, if he sees a particular danger he may order the accused to turn in any firearms he possesses. And with the order in place, he cannot lawfully obtain another firearm.
Whoa. Wait. Full stop. I’ll bet newcomers to this thought newly empowering judges to take those guns was the point of ERPOs. Victim disarmament advocates — like the mainstream media — have certainly done their best to convey that impression. But, generally, judges already have that power.
Though adjudication, a hearing in which the accused has the chance to defend himself before hand.
ERPO laws don’t change add that power. What they do change is:
- The accused doesn’t get the chance to defend himself. He isn’t even told of any hearing before his firearms are taken.
- The claim that the accused is dangerous doesn’t have to come from anyone who feels threatened. In fact, as some laws have been written, the accused and accuser need never have met. The accused might not even know of the accuser’s existence
ERPOs have even been executed against people who aren’t accused of being “dangerous” (they took firearms from an innocent third party because the accused thought he might be able to steal guns from him; might, not “could”).
That is what ERPOs are. And that is what the VNRA endorsed. Initially.
When gun owners (and even the ACLU) noted due process problem with ex parte proceedings, and the whole “to be confronted with the witnesses against him” thing, the VNRA backed off. Oh, no! What we MEANT was that we back ERPOs with due process.
Specifically, the VNRA said:
- Any ex parte proceeding should include admitting the individual for treatment.
- A person’s Second Amendment rights should only be temporarily deprived after a hearing before a judge, in which the person has notice of the hearing and is given an opportunity to offer evidence on his or her behalf.
Make up your minds, VNRA. Stop weasel-wording on the issue. Would the VNRA allow ex parte (the accused not given the opportunity to participate) hearings or not?
Again, the NRA will continue to oppose any proposal that does not fully protect due process rights. We will only support an ERPO process that strongly protects both Second Amendment rights and due process rights at the same time.
Due process is defined in 5 U.S. Code § 554 – Adjudications. It requires the subject to be informed of the hearing before it is held. That excludes any ex parte action.
And yet, the VNRA is still (as of January 8, 2019) allowing for ex parte hearings with no due process.
If the VNRA wants due process hearings for protection orders, then “red flag” ERPOs are exactly what they should oppose.
Smart people — which seems to exclude VNRA “leadership” — understand that. The framers of the Constitution certainly did.
Article 1, Section 9
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
What’s a Bill of Attainder?
A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial. As with attainder resulting from the normal judicial process, the effect of such a bill is to nullify the targeted person’s civil rights, most notably the right to own property (and thus pass it on to heirs)
The use of these bills by Parliament eventually fell into disfavour due to the obvious potential for abuse and the violation of several legal principles, most importantly the right to due process, the precept that a law should address a particular form of behaviour rather than a specific individual or group, and the separation of powers.
No trial: Check.
Nullifies civil rights: First Amendment rights to speak in a hearing denied, Second Amendment rights to firearm denied. Check.
Takes property: Check.
Heck; 4A, 5A, 6A, and 9A gone. Check.
The VNRA officially supports unconstitutional Bills of Attainder which strip anonymously accused people of their rights and property with no due process.
The Vichy NRA officially supports Star Chamber-ordered SWATting with no due process.
Update: The VNRA is “opposing” a red flag law in North Dakota.
Not only do they fail to provide any sort of mental health treatment but they allow the state to deny law-abiding gun owners their due process of rights. If the state can deny due process to these law-abiding residents then what’s to stop them from denying any right to any group of people?”
Which is exactly why I am calling out the VNRA’s hypocrisy in supporting ex parte proceedings lacking in participation, before the deprivation of 2A human/civil rights, by the accused.
(More Tip Jar Options)