As school shootings continue to dominate the media, people around the country are looking for solutions. Most are looking for solutions that preserve personal freedoms, but some are simply happy to trample civil rights in the name of ‘doing something’ about gun violence.
Leftists in the state of California passed a bill in the house that would allow co-workers, employers, and school staff to request the confiscation of firearms from people ‘determined’ to pose a danger to themselves or others. They hope to expand an existing law to allow professors, cops, and bosses to anonymously steal rights from people, shredding the Constitution along the way.
The perpetrator of that shooting had, according to those who knew him, displayed a number of ‘warning signs’ prior to the shooting. He killed six people, along with himself, and local politicians claimed that if the law had been in effect, the shooting could’ve been avoided.
AB 2888 is a short bill, comprised of only three sections.
Essentially, the bill allows any immediate family member, employer, coworker, employee of a “secondary or postsecondary school” that the individual attended within the last six months, or any law enforcement officer to file a petition with the courts.
This petition would request that the court issue an ‘ex parte gun violence restraining order,’ which would prevent the individual from buying, or having in their possession, a firearm for its duration.
After the petition is issued, the only evidence that is needed for the court to decide to grant it is an affidavit that claims that the individual who is the subject of the claim is ‘likely’ to injure themselves or another person.
Oh, and the petition will be issued or denied on the same day as it is filed. If the petition is filed too late in the day for a judge to reasonably act upon it, then the petition will be issued or denied on the next day that court is in session.
Allegedly, the petitioner will bear the ‘burden of proof’ to show that the subject of the petition needs to have their rights restricted. However, this bill seems to be outright written for abuse.
Currently, the red flag law in California gives family members, law enforcement officers, and roommates the right to petition the court to bar an individual from legally accessing firearms. However, that individual must have displayed dangerous behavior.
After meeting those requirements, the judge would issue a decision, usually telling the subject to stay away from firearms for around a year, and to surrender any firearms they may own.
The new bill seems to lower the evidentiary threshold, while also widening the list of people who can ‘raise’ the ‘red flag.’
According to one of the democrats who wrote the bill, Assemblyman Phil Ting, this bill isn’t necessarily a ‘panacea,’ but rather simply one of ‘many’ solutions that the government of California has to offer.
According to Ting, the state issued 200 restraining orders under the auspices of the law since it went into effect in 2016. He believes that his bill would make it much simpler for people to stop ‘abhorrent’ behavior before it starts.
To rationalize his bill, he pointed to the shooter in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, and claimed that his bill could have saved lives there.
Of course, this claim ignores that there were multiple chances for people to stop the shooter, and that it was a perfect storm of government inadequacy that allowed that shooter to kill his former classmates on Valentine’s Day.
It seems like Ting has repeatedly tried to expand the ‘red flag’ law that already existed in California, though. He filed a similar bill in 2016, hoping to expand the list of people who could bring forward a petition to the courts to remove someone’s gun rights.
Wilcox wants to see California pass a law that holds parents criminally liable if they leave their firearms where a child can reach them, and something similar to the Brady Campaign’s ‘Speak Up’ hotline, which allows students to anonymously report classmates who make violent threats.
Of course, such a hotline would also be ripe for abuse by students.
Whatever leftists in the state may want, it’s quite obvious that this bill is designed to give many people the power to arbitrarily remove the right to keep and bear arms from people, based only on a signed claim.
There is nothing in the law that suggests those who lose their rights can petition to restore them, although the law does allow the temporary restraining order to be extended if the petitioners provide new evidence.
There’s no opportunity for the subject of the affidavit to represent themselves in front of the court before the judge makes the decision (in fact, the law seems almost designed to prevent that), or for the subject to confront their accuser.
Further, law enforcement officers and people with little personal relationship to the accused can file claims.
How likely is a judge to look too deeply at the claims of a leftist college professor at Berkeley, or to carefully consider that a police officer may be exaggerating the threat posed by an individual?
This is absolutely moving in the wrong direction on gun rights, but California has always been quick to arbitrarily take and deny Second Amendment rights any time they can.
This is just another reason for people who value their right to keep and bear arms to flee the state.