Ever since Parkland, people have tripped all over themselves to try and stop the next mass shooting. Part of the favored set of solutions to this was the Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also called “red flag laws” that allow family, police, or even teachers in some cases, to petition the courts to remove guns from people who haven’t actually done anything wrong, but who might.
While ERPOs have allegedly been successful in curbing suicides–taking away a quick means to take one’s own life, thus making it more complicated to commit suicide–they haven’t seemed to do much for homicides. But that didn’t stop Delaware from embracing them.
Democratic Gov. John Carney on Wednesday signed legislation to set up a framework to temporarily void the gun rights of those thought to be dangerous in The First State.
The bill, HB 222, enables a family member or law enforcement to seek an emergency “Lethal Violence Protection Order” to temporarily seize the guns from someone thought to be a threat to themselves or others. The measure, termed a “red flag” law by supports, passed the legislature earlier this month without a single opposing vote.
“This new legislation is another tool to help law enforcement and our community confront gun violence,” said Carney, who has already signed a bump stock ban and other gun control bills into law so far this year. “One piece of legislation alone will not solve the problem of gun violence, but with a comprehensive approach, along with efforts to strengthen security in our schools, we can make a difference.”
Under the bill, a court may authorize an LVPO for a period of up to one year but must allow the subject of such an order to petition for a hearing to have their guns returned. While those faced with an order can voluntarily hand over their firearms to law enforcement or a gun dealer to hold, the bill also enables police to conduct a search and seizure and guarantees the agency’s immunity from civil or criminal liability for any damage to guns stored or transported, barring intentional misconduct. Those making false reports could face perjury charges.
It’s good there are at least some penalties in place for false reporting, but I suspect that’s going to be difficult to prove. At least, it will be unless the person is a complete idiot. So, based on what I’ve seen on humanity, I retract my statement about it being difficult to prove.
Regardless, though, these are still concerning. Anything that takes away a civil right is concerning, and contrary to what the gun grabbers may feel in their heart of hearts, that’s precisely what these do. They take away someone’s right to keep and bear arms…and they don’t do much else.
The vast majority of homicides are committed by people who would not be caught up in an ERPO’s snare. They’re either criminals engaging in other illegal activities or they’re cold-blooded homicides committed by people who don’t trip up any signals that would warrant an ERPO. In other words, these do little to stop the majority of firearm-related homicides.
Further, those who may get ensnared by these–people like angry estranged spouses–may also simply elect to use a different weapon, thus negating the effectiveness of these orders.
But hey, what should anyone care? It’s just people’s rights we’re talking about here. Not anything important.