This morning, President Obama listed what his new executive orders on gun regulations would accomplish, most of which (again) is already law. Yet, he also emphasized that he’s not out to take anybody’s guns away. This isn’t a slippery slope to mass confiscation, and the president reiterated that he’s a supporter of the Second Amendment; Katie eviscerated this claim earlier this afternoon.
Today, background checks are required at gun stores. If a father wants to teach his daughter how to hunt, he can walk into a gun store, get a background check, purchase his weapon safely and responsibly. This is not seen as an infringement on the Second Amendment. Contrary to the claims of what some gun rights proponents have suggested, this hasn’t been the first step in some slippery slope to mass confiscation. Contrary to claims of some presidential candidates, apparently, before this meeting, this is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns. You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm.
Last October, the president also repeated the claim that he isn’t looking to take anybody’s guns away at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago. The president may say he’s for the Second Amendment, but his policies say otherwise. Moreover, the president’s party seems to be totally fine with passing legislation that manifests itself as de facto confiscation in the name of safety.
In California, a new law has gone into effect, where people can petition the court to have someone’s firearms confiscated, or prevent them from buying them, if they feel the person could be a threat to the public. Of course, the language regarding “immediate family members” is vague, and like the Obama administration policy of integrating terror no-fly lists into background checks, there are questions about due process. A provision of the law says that when the restraining order is issued, law enforcement can confiscate legal firearms for 21 days (via the Guardian):
To request a firearms restraining order, a petitioner has to tell the court why they believe someone presents a danger to themselves or others because they are in possession of a gun or intend to get one. The petitioner also has to explain why a restraining order is necessary to keep the subject of the order from harming anyone.
If the order is granted, a judge can issue a temporary firearms restraining order within 24 hours. The subject would then be served with the order and would have to surrender their guns and ammunition within 24 hours.
Before the order expires, a judge decides at a hearing attended by both parties whether to terminate the order and return the subject’s firearms and ammunition, or extend the order for a year.
“In California we have no more loopholes. They have already tried and done everything regarding gun control,” said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California. “It’s a kneejerk reaction that would do nothing to prevent the incident that inspired it.”
The term “immediate family member”, according to the new law, includes a range of relatives, blood ties or not. It also includes anyone who has “within the last six months, regularly resided” in the same household.
Additionally, court documents state that even if you don’t have the necessary relationship, you may notify law enforcement of a potential problem, and an officer could investigate and file a petition for the order.
Yes, a hearing is set during the period of confiscation, but for 21 days? Additionally, let’s not kid ourselves that this law is probably going to be abused. I have no problem with keeping firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them–and maybe California has something here (it certainly makes room for debate)–but this is a sloppy first draft of a law that will be easily mangled by anti-gun Democrats in one of the most liberal states in the country. Sadly, the debate here, as with most gun control policies, is whether this policy hurts the law-abiding more than those who intend to do harm.
As for any Obama policy that could lead to confiscation, that’s not in the cards. He knows that’s overreach, though it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if he doesn’t find anything problematic with California’s soft confiscation law. And that is the reason why Americans have bought over 100 million guns since the beginning of his presidency.