Roughly 20,000 people gathered in Richmond, Virginia on Monday for the Virginia Citizen Defense League's annual Lobby Day, which is an annual tradition. All eyes were on the Old Dominion state because Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his Democratic counterparts in the General Assembly have said they plan to implement gun control laws. Peaceful, law-abiding gun owners took to the state capitol to make their voices heard and to advocate for their Second Amendment rights.
Despite that, the Virginia Senate on Wednesday passed SB240, which would allow police to confiscate a person's firearms under Extreme Risk Protection Orders, commonly referred to as red flag laws. The bill passed 21 to 19, WTVR-TV reported.
Under the proposal, attorneys and law enforcement would be able to petition a court to prohibit the person from purchasing, possessing or transferring a firearm if he or she is considered a risk to themselves or others.
"The red flag bill that passed out of the Virginia Senate fails to address mental health concerns for individuals and falls far short on due process," National Rifle Association spokesperson Catherine Mortensen said in a statement. "This red flag legislation also creates numerous false flag opportunities for law enforcement.”
Gun rights advocates take issue with red flag laws primarily because of the lack of due process. A gun owner can have their firearms taken away without having the ability to defend themselves. Instead of having a hearing, determining if the person is truly a threat and then deciding to confiscate this or her firearms, law enforcement and the courts are given carte blanche to decide a person's fate.
Not only that but there's also an opportunity for mistaken identity to take place, like what happened a few months back in Florida. A man was mistaken for a criminal because they both had the same name. Police searched concealed carry licenses and made the assumption that the law-abiding gun owner was the one who committed the crime. The worst part is the man's firearms had to remain in police custody until the person filing the complaint against the criminal said the police had the wrong man. He'd then have to petition the court to get his firearms back...and he would have to bear the cost.