The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act (S 506) is legislation proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the United States Senate. The bill seeks to subsidize the operation of state red flag law programs in which, via ex parte and low-proof-threshold determinations, people are denied the legal ability to possess guns and subjected to gun confiscation.
Feinstein’s bill, however, does not go far enough: It should be amended to also subsidize ensuring some of those people so deprived of the ability to legally possess guns are also thrown into involuntary mental treatment. That is the recommendation of D.J. Jaffe in a Friday National Review editorial.
How should states pursue such an expanded red flag law program? Jaffe writes: “New York provides a roadmap for how to do this.” In particular, he points to the state’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE} Act. That law charges health care workers with reporting names of people they think are likely do something that could result in serious harm to themselves or others. The names are then fed to the state government that can pursue the revocation of the reported people’s legal ability to possess guns.
While Jaffe attempts to present the New York law as reasonable and just, as I explained in a 2014 article, the law created a situation, including the flagging of tens of thousands of individuals as candidates for gun confiscation, that was neither reasonable nor just. Summing up the situation within the first two years of the SAFE Act’s enforcement, I wrote, “In the implementation of the mental health law provision of the SAFE Act we see the liberty-suppressing potential of a mandated ‘if you see something say something’ program combined with a government database and a routine bureaucratic process.”
For a disturbing account of the harm the Kafkaesque SAFE Act process has imposed on one of the many harmed individuals, read Rod Watson’s April of 2019 Buffalo News article that details the ordeal of Lois Reid. Reid was able, after a five-year effort, to recover her ability to legally possess a gun — something she had been deprived of after a hospital visit.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.