Members of the Massachusetts House are considering H.3081, which would remove guns from a person’s ownership if he or she is deemed a threat. Under H.3081, a family member, medical personnel or law enforcement officer could petition the court to invoke an “extreme risk protective order” against someone that is considered a threat. If a judge invokes the order, law enforcement would take possession of the person’s firearms for 10 days. Once the 10 days are up, the judge could end the order or extend it for up to one year.
“If someone is having a temporary mental health problem but is a firearms owner, this will be a mechanism for mental health providers to temporarily get those guns out of their hands,” Democratic state Rep. David Linsky told the Associated Press.
According to gun rights activists, the legislation is misguided. Instead of focusing on the mental health aspect of the problem, legislators are focusing on the firearms aspect of the issue, which doesn’t solve anything long-term.
“We’re actually pretty concerned about the bill. I think it’s an extraordinarily dangerous bill in terms of civil rights and public safety. It’s a soundbite,” said Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts. “We’re labeling someone an extreme risk and taking their civil rights away and letting them walk away? That’s a horrific situation. We’re ignoring the human element. We’re ignoring the situation. There are a lot of other ways they can hurt themselves and others.”
Currently, the bill has 32 co-sponsors out of the 160 members of the House. The bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.