In the wake of the Florida shooting, politicians, police, and activists alike are scrambling to find ways to prevent the next tragic attack. Without hesitation, last week, notorious gun-grabber Senator Dianne Feinstein, sat next to Donald Trump’s and likely salivated over his remarks as he called for the removal of due process and to “take the guns first.” However, this practice of taking guns without due process is already underway in the land of the free.
Citing Nikolas Cruz as the reason for advocating the removal of due process, the anti-gun activists in D.C. are claiming he should’ve had his guns taken which would have prevented the tragedy. Sadly, however, they are ignoring the fact that he was accused of multiple felonies—and should’ve never been able to purchase a gun in the first place—but law enforcement failed to act on any of it.
In Florida, if a person making death threats intends for the victim to fear for her safety, specifically fearful of death or bodily harm, it is considered a credible threat under the law, which changes the crime from stalking, a first-degree misdemeanor, to aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree. Cruz was reported at least 4 times for this very crime before he bought his AR-15 and police did nothing.
There is a law on the books known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order or ERPO, which went into effect in June of 2017. This law is used when a person is considered an “extreme” threat as reported by police and family members. An ERPO must be approved by a judge and only after this person is proven to be a danger to themselves or others can police move in to confiscate their weapons.
“We now have to go to someone’s house and knock on the door and say, ‘We’re from the government. Can we have your guns?’” Pisconski told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “That can get very dangerous.”
While touted as a necessary tool for police, an ERPO removes due process as the person who is accused of being mentally unstable does not have to be present and gets no chance of facing their accuser.
Last week in Seattle, a man was petitioned for an ERPO and his case is proving everything wrong with the law. The man has yet to be identified, however, he has become the first public victim of the removal of due process and a police raid to initiate gun confiscation.
According to police, the ERPO stemmed from a neighbor reporting the man for “staring” at them through a window. The man was also “accused” of open-carrying a holstered pistol.
Staring is most certainly not illegal. Also, it is entirely legal to open carry a pistol in Belltown. This man had not made any threats to anyone. However, his entirely legal behavior was considered a threat—so police confiscated his guns.
“He was roaming the hallways with a .25 caliber automatic,” one of the man’s neighbors, Tony Montana told KIRO news as an apparent reason to justify the ERPO. Clearly showing his ignorance, Montana attempted to assert that the man’s handgun was “automatic.” Yet still, police took this man’s word alone as a reason to remove another man’s due process and take his guns.
Naturally, the man did not want to be disarmed, so he refused to give police his guns. That prompted police to escalate the situation.
“We attempted multiple times to get the individual to fulfill that order of turning over their firearms,” Pisconski said. “And he refused multiple times. We were forced, at that point, to take the next step in the ERPO law which is petitioning for a search warrant to go in and enter their home and remove the firearms from them.”
Had this man resisted with force, rest assured that he would’ve been killed. His life would’ve been taken by police and he never committed a crime.
Pisconski told KIRO that they are walking a fine line because they don’t want to criminalize mental health. However, they aren’t criminalizing mental health at all as the victim was never even given a mental health evaluation and police took his guns because people feared his entirely legal behavior.
To those who may be in favor of such laws, consider the following: There is no way to stop an estranged spouse from call police repeatedly and telling them their ex is threatening to cause harm to others. This man simply open-carried a pistol and looked out of windows and his guns were taken.
Anyone, any time, now has the ability to claim someone else is a threat and have police take their guns. One does not need to delve into the multiple ‘what if’ scenarios to see what sort of ominous implications arise from such a practice. What’s more, police now have the power to deem you a threat at any time and legally disarm you—due process be damned.
To those that support the removal of due process under the ostensible notion that it would make you safer, you would do well to remember history before you or someone you know finds yourself subject to an ERPO.