Rather than join House Republicans in combating the root causes of mass shootings, Democrats and President Biden are politicizing heartbreak in order to ram through a radical gun control agenda that will do nothing to prevent these tragedies from taking place again.
MAKE NO MISTAKE: House Republicans have actually passed legislation and have introduced solutions to harden schools, support mental health care, expand information sharing, and promote gun safety and training for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
OPPOSE: H.R. 2377, THE “FEDERAL EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDER ACT OF 2021” (Courtesy of Judiciary Republicans):
Sponsor: Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA)
This bill will eviscerate firearm owners’ due process rights. This bill destroys the presumption of innocence that is the bedrock of our criminal justice system. It does away with the notion that an individual is innocent until proven guilty, and instead, makes anyone subject to an extreme risk protection order guilty until proven innocent. An individual will have his or her firearms and ammunition confiscated without notice or the opportunity to be heard in court.
Federal law already prohibits dangerous and unfit individuals from purchasing or possessing firearms. An individual with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, an individual involuntarily committed to a mental institution or adjudicated “mentally defective,” or an individual who is an unlawful user of a controlled substance are all prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm.
The universe of individuals who can petition a court for an extreme risk protection order under this bill is too broad and creates a process that is ripe for abuse. The expansive list includes a law enforcement officer, parent, spouse, sibling, child, dating partner, roommate, domestic partner, and anyone with whom the individual lived for the past year. Any one of these individuals would be permitted to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order after overcoming the low evidentiary bar of “probable cause” for a federal order and “reasonable cause” for a state order. This bill will create an opportunity for a disgruntled ex-roommate, aggrieved domestic partner, or angry adult child to use the judicial system to harass and burden an individual by requiring law enforcement to seize the individual’s firearms and ammunition.
Studies suggest that this bill would not save lives or reduce crime. A study conducted by the Crime Prevention Research Center in 2018 found that “red flag laws had no significant effect on murder, suicide, the number of people killed in mass public shootings, robbery, aggravated assault, or burglary.” Furthermore, states have shown that many extreme risk protection orders have been overturned when the respondent finally has an opportunity to be heard.
OPPOSE: H.R. 7910, “PROTECTING OUR KIDS ACT” (Courtesy of Judiciary Republicans):
Sponsor: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
H.R. 7910 contains unconstitutional restrictions on Americans’ rights. The Second Amendment protects the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them. However, H.R. 7910 would prohibit 18 to 20 year-olds from buying nearly all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. The liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down a similar California law as unconstitutional. The court found that using the heinous acts of a small number of individuals in a demographic class as a pretext for taking away the constitutional rights of all 18 to 20 year-olds would create “a malleable and meaningless limit on the government’s power to restrict constitutional rights.”
H.R. 7910 would fail to prevent gun violence or ensure the safety of all Americans. During Judiciary Committee consideration of this bill, Chairman Nadler conceded that the strict gun laws in liberal jurisdictions don’t work because criminals are able to obtain guns elsewhere. Rep. Steve Cohen admitted that the Democrats’ bill will make it harder for law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Committee Democrats even rejected a Republican amendment that would have ensured that victims of domestic violence can receive a firearm from a friend or neighbor to protect themselves.
H.R. 7910 is not a serious attempt to find solutions. This bill is focused only on the firearms used in a small number of crimes and not the broader problem of gun violence or what drives some individuals to commit these terrible acts. H.R. 7910 does nothing to address mental health or prevent the dozens of shootings that occur weekly in Democrat-run cities across America. If Democrats were serious about addressing gun violence they would engage in serious conversation about public safety instead of political theater.