Questions Everyone Should Be Asking About Red Flag Emergency Risk Protection Gun Laws

Questions Everyone Should Be Asking About Red Flag Emergency Risk Protection ERPO Gun Laws : Rally for our Rights Colorado

If you’re not familiar with Red Flag Laws, also known as Emergency Risk Protection Orders (ERPO),  you’re not paying enough attention.  And if you know what Red Flag Laws are and support them, you’re probably also not paying enough attention.

Red Flag Laws allow an intimate partner, former intimate partner, or family member to make a report to the courts with claims that an individual is going to either hurt themselves or others with a firearm.  Within 24 hours the court hears a preponderance of evidence and issues an order to have the persons gun confiscated.

To some people, this sounds good on the surface.  I mean, who doesn’t want to save lives?  But feel good laws like these do more harm than good, and this one is no exception.  In fact, it may be one of the worst.   These laws lack due process, they grossly violate our right to keep and bear arms, and they would have a chilling effect on free speech.  Not to mention they would prevent people who truly need help from seeking it – especially those who are suicidal.

There are many questions we should be asking.  Here are some that I’ve developed after reading through the language in these proposed bills in many states.

• How can lawmakers ensure a stalker or domestic abuser is prevented from using an ERPO to disarm their victims, potentially putting those in our society who need protection the most in harms way?

• Are there safeguards in place to prevent this from being used as a form of retaliation or as a hate crime – for example being used to disarm a transgender person, a person of color, or a certain religion?

• Why is all information such as accusers, allegations, accusations, etc sealed and require a court order for release?

• Many of these ERPO’s allow the accuser to report via telephone, as well as attend the initial hearing via telephone – making these easier to obtain than a Temporary Protection Order, opening the door to rampant abuse.

• What kind of proof is required that the accuser is or has been in an intimate relationship with the accused, or is a family member?

• What kind of punishment would be in a Red Flag Bill for false accusers?

• Will requiring police to confiscate the guns of people who could be innocent, put law enforcement officers in harms way?

• When these confiscation orders are being carried out, quite likely against someone who is innocent, will that put families and children at risk?

• Why are these laws being promoted as “mental health” laws when in fact they have no mental health components?

• Because the accused who would have their firearms confiscated has not been accused of a crime, they would not be eligible for a public defender to get their firearms back, leaving the poor in our society at a disadvantage.

Do you have other questions that I have missed?  Drop them in the comments.  

Here is how these laws would work:

Step 1: A petitioner (either a current or former intimate partner, or a family member, with no proof required) makes a report via telephone or in person that you have firearms, have bought firearms, or have bought ammunition – and that they have heard you make a threat that you may harm another or yourself.

Step 2: A court hearing is scheduled within 24 hours either over the phone or in person with the petitioner to determine if an Emergency Risk Protection Order (aka Red Flag Order) should be issued.  The one most important person notably missing from this hearing is YOU.  You are not even so much as informed that this hearing is taking place.  During this hearing the judge will hear a “preponderance of evidence” from the petitioner, and only the petitioner, with the goal to convince the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true.

Step 3: An Emergency Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is issued.  The sheriff’s department will visit your home and demand you turn over your firearms, and if you refuse to comply, they will be confiscated by force (placing everyone present in a dangerous situation).  YOU will be left alone, without what may be your most important means of self defense – your firearm – because someone just had it confiscated.  It doesn’t matter if you bought that firearm to protect yourself from a stalker, an abuser, or simply to walk home from work late at night. It also doesn’t matter if the person who requested your firearms be confiscated is that same abuser or stalker.

Step 4: Then, and only then, will you be given instructions as to how to defend yourself in court and get your firearms back.

You can read more about Colorado’s 2018 version of the Red Flag Bill here.  A new bill has not yet been introduced for the 2019 legislative session, but it undoubtedly will be.

If you want to be part of the fight to defend your gun rights, please subscribe to our email list and/or make a donation.

Gun Owners Across US Woke Up Criminals In The New Year – And They Did Nothing Wrong

Gun Owners Across US Woke Up Criminals In The New Year - And They Did Nothing Wrong - Rally for our Rights Blog

While the masses across the United States were out ringing in the New Year – some of whom were undoubtedly engaging in illegal activity such as drunk driving and illicit drug use – gun owners in multiple cities and states simply stayed home, watched the ball drop on their TV, and went to bed without incident.  Yet this morning, they are the ones who woke up as criminals.

2018 was a year that put the anti-gun community and gun rights advocates toe to toe.  There is something both sides agree on though – they agree that tragedies like we saw in Parkland, FL are devastating and we don’t want them to happen.  What we disagree on are the solutions.

The gun grabbers have chosen to ignore research that highlights two things: 1.) gun control doesn’t work and 2.) current laws are being ignored.  In nearly every instance of a tragic shooting, a little research into the perpetrators background shows failure and incompetence on the part of government.  So what do the gun grabbers do with this information?  They demand more laws be created that do nothing to curb crime, but instead create a false sense of security and criminalize the law abiding.

Many of those laws went into effect at 12:00am today, January 1st, 2019.  Here are a few of them:

Boulder, CO: If you own a so-called “assault weapon” that you didn’t register with the police department between June 15th and December 31st, 2018, today you are a criminal.  Never mind Boulder has never seen a murder committed with one of the banned firearms, but it has with a baseball bat.

Washington: If you’re under 21 and are in possession of a long gun outside your home, the government has deemed you a criminal before you’re even old enough to drink. Welcome to a life of crime.

Illinois: If you purchase a rifle but you don’t wait 72 hours after the purchase to take possession of it, you are breaking the law.  But who abides by a waiting period?  That’s right, the law abiding.

California:  Similarly to Washington, it is also now illegal to be under the age of 21 and own a shotgun or rifle.  That will certainly deter a violent, evil person from obtaining one. <insert heavy sarcasm>

In addition, several states enacted draconian “Red Flag Laws“, which allow someone’s firearms to be confiscated by law enforcement with little evidence and no due process.  Other states have adopted “Mental Health Laws” which will prevent those who have had certain types of mental health treatment from possessing firearms (with the unintended consequence of making those who own firearms not seek mental health treatment).

Undoubtedly, with anti-gun candidates winning elections across the nation this past November, we’re in a for a doozy of year.  Make sure you’re paying attention.

You can help us continue to fight back with boots on the ground.  Get connected on social media here and/or make a donation here.

When Self Protection Is Needed The Most, Red Flag Laws Can Be Used To Disarm You

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Red Flag Laws are all the rage these days, almost trendy.  It seems that’s what the anti-gun community cares about when creating laws – being trendy – even though many of these trendy laws make people less safe.  And that’s exactly what Red Flag Laws do.

As a woman who chose to leave an unhealthy marriage only to be harassed and stalked by my ex-husband, and then when he remarried, spent nearly two years in a bitter custody battle as him and his new wife tried to move my daughter across the country, I have unfortunately witnessed how easy it is to manipulate this system.

I have faced temporary restraining orders based on fabricated accusations, police at my door for false reports, and CPS visits multiple times.  Through each encounter, I held my head high, defended myself with poise, and had faith the truth would be on my side.  In my case it was; each time I was victorious.  But it did not come without anxiety and fear.  Since that time, my ex-husband and his new wife have moved away, and I sleep much more soundly at night – with my daughter in the room across the hall.

I no longer have to take a different route home each time I’d meet him to drop off or pick up my daughter because I knew he was following me.  Or be informed by a watchful neighbor that he has been sitting at the end of my street for two hours in sub-zero weather.  I no longer have to wonder if the knock on my door on Saturday morning is the sheriff’s office following up on more false accusations, or the neighbor kid wanting to play with my child. I no longer have to fear what may be next.  I was fortunate that I was still there to worry about those things.  Others were not.

Due to my experiences, when I saw a Red Flag Bill hit my state legislature last spring, I was shocked.  Certainly these politicians know how easy this is to manipulate – and of course, their “job” is to protect people like me.  But when I researched it further, my shock turned to anger.  Not only was this proposed law as easy to get as the temporary protection order my ex-husband had gotten against me at one time, it was easier.  It allows reports by phone, and hearings by phone.  No one even has to show their face.

Red Flag Bills put the most vulnerable in our society at risk.  The same citizens these politicians claim to care about, they are putting at risk.  Domestic violence affects women and men of all demographics, and although 40% of the victims are men (if not more), when it comes to fatalities in domestic and familial incidents, a shocking 97% of the victims are women.

Now the anti-gun, pro-women, newly elected government has made promises to come to our rescue – yet all they are doing is putting us in harms way by opening a door to have OUR means of self protection removed – legally.

Although I use my own experience as a woman as an example, this applies to anyone, regardless of gender or other demographics.  If your life is in harms way, Red Flag Laws can be used to disarm you. And if you manage to beat a system that is stacked against you and get your firearms back, there are no repercussions to the person who falsely reported you.  They walk away unscathed, having wasted time and resources that could have been used to follow up on legitimate threats and crime.

If you’re not familiar with Red Flag Laws, you’re not paying enough attention (seriously, connect with us on social media so you always know what’s up).  Red Flag Laws are already in place in some states, and are undoubtedly coming to yours.  Here’s how a Red Flag Law works:

• A petitioner (either a current or former intimate partner, or a family member, with no proof required) makes a report via telephone or in person that you have firearms, have bought firearms, or have bought ammunition – and that they have heard you make a threat that you may harm another or yourself.

• A court hearing is scheduled within 24 hours either over the phone or in person with the petitioner to determine if an Emergency Risk Protection Order (aka Red Flag Order) should be issued.  The one most important person notably missing from this hearing is YOU.  You are not even so much as informed that this hearing is taking place.  During this hearing the judge will hear a “preponderance of evidence” from the petitioner, and only the petitioner, with the goal to convince the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true.

• An Emergency Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is issued.  The sheriff’s department will visit your home and demand you turn over your firearms, and if you refuse to comply, they will be confiscated by force (placing everyone present in a dangerous situation).  YOU will be left alone, without what may be your most important means of self defense – your firearm – because someone just had it confiscated.  It doesn’t matter if you bought that firearm to protect yourself from a stalker, an abuser, or simply to walk home from work late at night. It also doesn’t matter if the person who requested your firearms be confiscated is that same abuser or stalker.

• Then, and only then, will you be given instructions as to how to defend yourself in court and get your firearms back.

You can read more about Colorado’s version of the Red Flag Bill here.  And if you want to be part of the fight against them in the next legislative session, please subscribe to our email list.

Red Flag Gun Bills Have Nothing To Do With Mental Health And Everyone Should Care

Earlier this year, during the 2018 legislative session, Colorado Republicans held a one seat majority in the state senate.  This was enough to stop a poorly written and heavily rushed Red Flag Bill from becoming law.  Unfortunately for those who support gun rights and due process, that single seat was lost in November’s election along with several others, and 2019’s legislative session is expected to be a fight – with a Red Flag Bill a top priority for lawmakers who are proving to be against the civil rights of the same citizens they were elected to represent.

Here’s a thorough breakdown of the last Red Flag Bill Coloradan’s faced, as well as details about the major issues within such legislation.

Colorado’s Red Flag Bill (HB18-1436) was heavily promoted through the media – both radio and TV- as a mental health bill, implying that it would help the mentally ill and get them treatment.  But when Sheriff Sprulock was asked on May 7, 2018 in a Senate committee meeting, “Does this bill address how to get those people that mental health treatment?”  Sheriff Sprulock answered, “No it doesn’t.”

The issuing of an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) begins with the petitioner making a phone call, at minimum, to the court to request an ERPO.  There is no verification or proof required for this phone call.  This call could come from someone claiming to be a “dating partner” or a “family member”.  Your bitter neighbor could claim to have had an affair with you.  There is no limitation to how long ago you dated or who the family member is, or even if they are in the state of Colorado.

Red Flag Bill Emergency Risk Protection Order ERPO Colorado Gun Confiscation Colorado Rally for our Rights

The court must issue a hearing by telephone or in person with the petitioner that same day or the following day.  The judge will hear a “preponderance of evidence” from the petitioner, and only the petitioner, with the goal to convince the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true.  This is comparable to a “he said – she said” argument, only the accused gun owner is not informed or allowed to contest the petitioner.  This is a Kangaroo court, and the gun owners’ damnation is absolute.  In the court hearing, evidence such as access to a firearm or purchased ammunition is enough to issue a temporary ERPO.

Once the temporary ERPO is issued, the gun owner is then declared a “dangerous person” and a good faith effort is made to issue the gun owner a statement that they can no longer be in possession of a firearm.  The gun owner must sell the firearms, transfer them to a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer, or hand them over to the police.  It is at this point the accused even learns such a case has been brought to the court. They must comply, no questions asked, or they may face death, as we recently saw in Maryland.

Red Flag Bill Emergency Risk Protection Order ERPO Colorado Gun Confiscation Colorado Rally for our Rights

Seven days after the temporary ERPO is issued the gun owner can have a court date where they are responsible to provide an attorney to defend themselves.  Because they have not been accused of a crime, they will NOT be read their Miranda Rights and an attorney will NOT be provided to them.  They must proceed pro-se or hire an attorney.

If this bill is for mental health, the Petitioner just cost the gun owner thousands of dollars in legal defense fees; funds which could have otherwise been spent on treatment.

This bill states that “clear and convincing evidence” is the requirement to issue a EPRO for 182 days. It also states that having any access to a firearm or the purchase of ammunition is clear and convincing evidence. Because the bill lists the purchase of ammunition as clear and convincing evidence, it has short changed the higher standard of evidence for one that is almost as low as the preponderance of evidence requirement.

Red Flag Bill Emergency Risk Protection Order ERPO Colorado Gun Confiscation Colorado Rally for our Rights

Then if found innocent of everything, you are not guaranteed to be removed from the NICS database and therefore cannot get your firearms back.  If you’re a resident of a city such as Boulder, where an “assault weapons” ban allowed a grandfathering period where you could get your firearms certified, if you did not certify your firearms, you will not be getting them back.

Red Flag Bill Emergency Risk Protection Order ERPO Colorado Gun Confiscation Colorado Rally for our Rights

Bottom line: If you are issued an ERPO, you will have to give up your firearms, you will have to provide your own legal defense at your cost, your name will go into the NICS database as being prohibited from having a firearm, all before you go to court to prove your case, and never once will actual mental health be a topic.

Don’t be fooled, this bill is a gun grab bill in the name of mental health, where gun owners must give up their property before due processes is given.

Gun owners save lives!  Armed citizens stop crime with firearms more than 1.5 million times each year.  Help us get this billboard up for the 2019 legislative session!  Donate here: www.gofundme.com/gun-rights-billboards

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