The state of Nevada tends to be a fairly pro-gun place, but they’re also dominated by Las Vegas. Larger urban centers tend to be less tolerant of the Second Amendment in general, but Las Vegas probably has more reason to be that way than most cities. After all, the most deadly mass shooting in modern American history happened there.
Believe me, I get it.
Yet that doesn’t excuse anti-gun sentiment.
Since Las Vegas, though, the state has taken a relatively anti-gun position. One of the measures they’ve passed is a red flag law.
Now, a group is seeking to block it from going into effect.
A group known as “NevadansCAN” is working to block the enactment of Nevada’s Red Flag law which is set to take effect in January, 2020.
“The law itself is very unconstitutional on many bases, not just the second amendment,” said Julie Hereford.
Their latest mission is Assembly Bill 291 which is now known as the Red Flag law. NevadansCAN filed an injunction to block the implementation of the newly adopted law.
It’s goal is to prevent gun violence. Here’s how it works: a judge reviews an application sent in by police or family members about a person’s potentially threatening behavior. A hearing is held within seven days of the initial order being issued. If a judge decides they are a threat, that person’s weapons could be taken away from them for up to one year.
Hereford and Rooney said the law is unconstitutional because the decision comes down to a single judge, not a jury.
“It eliminates the presumption of innocence. Any person who is served with an emergency protection order is immediately suspected to be guilty and its up to them to somehow clear their name,” said Rooney.
More than that, though, the judge in question never actually talks to the individual being discussed. He simply makes a ruling based on comments from a third party. The individual doesn’t get to face their accuser or have any real say in their defense.
I’m sorry, but there are no possible excuses for such a horrible breach in due process.
Now, the question is, will NevadaCAN be successful?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’m skeptical of them actually being able to successfully block the red flag law, but that may also be my own cynicism creeping in. While I agree with the constitutional arguments they present, I also have seen little out of the courts in that part of the nation to suggest they’ll be open to this kind of thing.
I’d love to be wrong here, but I have to call them as I see them.
Still, even if they lose the initial stages, this may well set the groundwork for a Supreme Court challenge. While SCOTUS often tries to balance the Constitution with “public interest,” I’m not inclined to think they’d like such a breach of due process go unchecked. After all, taking away someone’s guns over third-party opinions could easily expand to other constitutionally-protected rights.
Regardless, this is going to be one case we all need to keep our eyes on. A successful challenge could open up possibilities in plenty of other states.