Oregon has joined California in a “prove-your-innocence” gun grab by adopting a law that allows state courts to withdraw Second Amendment rights without due process from individuals who are reported by a family or household member to be a violent threat.
The new law, signed by Gov. Kate Brown, follows other moves to curb Second Amendment rights, including the federal government’s removal of weapons from veterans who are determined without due process to be mentally unfit to manage their affairs.
The nonprofit Gun Owners of America contends the constitutionality of the law is questionable because it does not allow for the right to mount an appeal.
In fact, a court could decide at the request of a fellow household member to withdraw someone’s right to bear arms and the first the person would hear of it is through a knock on the door to seize his weapons.
“The absence of due process” is a concern, said Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.
He said the law creates a scenario one might find in communist Cuba, where “people drop the dime on each other without even thinking.”
The idea behind the law is that relatives should know best if someone is likely to become violent. But it provides only that an affidavit be submitted, not necessarily any evidence of threats.
The idea that mental issues can deprive Americans of their rights without notification is relatively new and has not been fully tested in court.
The National Rifle Association’s legislative lobby arm warns that the law allows people who are not mental health professionals, who “may be mistaken and who may only have minimal contact with the respondent to file a petition with the court and testify on the respondent’s state of mind,.”
The government insists the so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” are the “best way to ensure that a person who is a risk of harming themselves or others is identified, while still ensuring their rights are protected by a court review.”
But the NRA argues the accused would not be afforded the chance to appear in court to defend himself against the allegations when the order is issued.
Further, the orders may be issued without any allegations of criminal behavior.
The law does allow the person from whom weapons are confiscated to petition for a hearing in an attempt to prove his innocence.
Gun-control advocates have faced setbacks in the last few years, with the U.S. Supreme Court affirming an individual’s right to possess firearms in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
Even Barack Obama was unable to push more gun-control laws through Congress during his eight years in the White House.
WND has reported on multiple cases in which jurisdictions have attempted to deny Second Amendment rights to Americans for nothing more than serving as foster parents.
Further, the Los Angeles Times reported the Obama administration tried to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they “lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.”
It was a virtual copy of a Veterans Administration plan, as WND has reported.
Michael Connelly of the United States Justice Foundation has been working on the VA case since several veterans informed him they had been determined incompetent without a hearing and wanted to fight back.
According to the Social Security plan, the federal benefit recipients would be told they are incompetent and can no longer have weapons. Their names would be added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, which is used by governments to keep weapons out of the hands of felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens and others.
An estimated 4.2 million adults receive Social Security payments that are managed by “representative payees.”
Connelly had told WND that if the government is successful in its restrictions on Social Security recipients, there will be other targets soon.
“They could go after student loan recipients. What about people getting food stamps? Medicaid? Potentially anybody working for any government contractor,” he warned.
He said the government originally used veterans “as guinea pigs to develop methods that can be used to steal their constitutional rights.”
“Veterans get the letter from the VA telling them that because of physical or mental disabilities they are going to be declared incompetent to handle their own financial affairs, and the VA will appoint a fiduciary for them. The veterans are given 60 days to prove they are competent, which is a direct violation of the due process clause of the Constitution that requires the burden of proof be on the government,” he wrote.
“In none of the cases that we know of has there been an adjudication process with a hearing before a judge or an administrative judge. Nor have the veterans in most cases been examined by a psychiatrist, psychologist or even an MD,” he continued. “[Then Attorney General]-Eric Holder decided that anyone who works for the VA can declare veterans incompetent for any reason including having their bills paid automatically out of their bank accounts.”