Even the ACLU Takes Issue With California's Expanded Red Flag Laws

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Posted: Oct 14, 2019 6:40 PM
Even the ACLU Takes Issue With California's Expanded Red Flag Laws

Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday signed 15 gun control bills into law, which expands the Golden State's already stringent gun laws. One of the biggest threats to the Second Amendment – and individual rights – are Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), commonly referred to as "red flag laws." These laws typically give immediate family members and law enforcement the ability to petition a court to take away a person's right to keep and bear arms. Without any kind of trial or due process, a judge can order a law enforcement to confiscate a person's firearms.

One of the bills Newsom signed into law on Friday expands the current scope of ERPOs. As of now, an ERPO remains in effect for one year. The new law expands that to five years. 

The bill also expands who has the ability to petition the court. Teachers, school administrations, employers and co-workers are now added as the list of people who can partake in the petition process. 

According to Fox News, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the bill, saying it "poses a significant threat to civil liberties" because the gun owner has no due process or the ability to respond before the ERPO is issued.

The ALCU also said those who are determining whether or not a gun owner should still possess their firearms may "lack the relationship or skills required to make an appropriate assessment."

Pro-gun groups and advocates have sounded the alarm before on red flag laws because of the potential for abuse. A person can decide to file a dispute against someone they are mad at or have a vendetta against and there is no legal recourse. 

How do we know that a malicious ex-boyfriend or girlfriend won't decide to contact police and say they feel "threatened" or "worried" about their former significant other? 

There are also other issues, like mistaken identity, which we have already seen take place. A Florida man had his firearms confiscated because he had the same name as someone a domestic violence complaint was filed against. He had to go to court, the victim had say they had the wrong person and not the man she filed the complaint against. The worst part? The man had to petition the court to get his firearms back and he had to bear the court costs even though the ordeal wasn't his fault.