I’ve written about the danger of so-called “red flag laws” in-depth for Firearms News in the recent past, explaining how nearly all such laws violate the Constitution in a handful of different ways. Now, political action in California during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-at-home directives proves again how dangerous such laws can be.
For starters, California’s law concerning so-called “Gun Violence Restraining Orders” allows the government to confiscate a law-abiding citizen’s firearms without due process of law. All that is needed for guns to be taken is someone claiming a person poses a danger to himself or others, and a friendly judge who will OK the order. Then, the person whose guns are confiscated must prove in a later court hearing that he shouldn’t have been deprived of his Second Amendment rights.
It was egregious enough as it was. Under the unconstitutional law, a full hearing, where the accused can be represented by counsel and be heard by a judge, must be held within 21 days. That’s a full three weeks without a firearm before the gun owner can even explain why the guns shouldn’t have been confiscated in the first place!
Under a recent order, however, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra cited the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to extend the time before a hearing must be held by 90 days. As a result, a law-abiding California gun owner could have his guns confiscated by the state government and not even be able to contest the merits of the original Gun Violence Restraining Order for four months!
There were already enough reasons why every red flag law on the books should be repealed because of multiple violations of the Bill of Rights. The fact that such laws can be drastically toughened at the whim of an anti-gun bureaucrat during a national emergency is certainly another to add to that list.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.