Democrats Assault the Second Amendment...Again
Gun-grabbers in the Golden State governor's office and Democrat-controlled legislature, doubtless inspired by President Obama's promised Second Amendment sabotage, have paved the way for police to unilaterally seize guns from a person allegedly a danger to himself or others.
California law already prohibits firearm possession by a person who has been convicted of a violent crime, is subject to a domestic violence protective order, or has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
AB1014, which took effect on Jan. 1, allows a police officer, without prior notice to the affected person or a hearing with that person, to seek a "gun violence" temporary restraining order from a judge. Section 3, Chapter 2 permits an officer to seize any guns from a person if a judge...
... finds there is reasonable cause to believe that the subject of the petition poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm and that the order is necessary to prevent personal injury to himself, herself, or another, as specified.
This opens the door wide for spurious claims against gun owners.
Any gun seized can be held for 21 days, after which the person may seek a hearing to challenge the grounds for the seizure. If the judge finds clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner is "a significant danger" to himself or another, the restraining order will be renewed for one year. The petitioner is allowed one hearing per each year's renewal of the restraining order.
There are at least 34,000 reasons why AB1014 should be lining the bottom of bird cages. As reported by Jazz Shaw, writing for HotAir.com on Oct. 20, 2014:
The [New York Times] has now released details of a database kept by Empire State law enforcement of people who have had their Second Amendment rights terminated on the basis of being "mentally unstable." The number of people in this database – created as a result of the odious New York SAFE Act has swollen in a little over a year to more than 34,000 names. …
This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Andrew Cuomo and the New York Democrat party. Efforts to get this blatantly unconstitutional law overturned in the courts have thus far failed efforts. For the vast majority of the people on this huge list, they have never had a day in court to challenge their accusers as to their fitness to exercise their Second Amendment rights, nor have they been adjudicated as being truly dangerous. In New York you can show up on this list and lose your rights simply because some anonymous "medical professional" (who doesn't even have to be a doctor) has reported you.
If California's Second Amendment shredders were legitimately concerned about public safety, why seize only a person's firearms? Why leave a "dangerous" person among us who's in possession of knives, matches, charcoal lighter, baseball bats, scissors, drugs, power tools, a Wolfgang Puck pressure cooker, gasoline, and a car?
A car, not a gun, was the weapon of choice for Lakeisha Nicole Holloway, who killed a woman and injured 35 others in Las Vegas on Dec. 20.
California Health & Safety Code Section 5150, which remains in force, provides a process for dealing with individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others. A person taken into custody under 5150 may be held for 72 hours if he or she is determined to be a threat after undergoing an evaluation in a mental health facility. After 72 hours, the detained person is entitled to a court hearing with representation by a lawyer.
AB1014 threatens lawful gun owners, who, without due process, can be deprived of their right to bear arms, the same way that gun owners are victimized by the New York SAFE Act.
Spouses embroiled in child custody disputes can try to gain an advantage by getting a "gun violence restraining order" on the record against the other parent. Minors angry at parents or teachers aren't above taking revenge for being disciplined or receiving a bad grade. Angry neighbors, co-workers, employees, rejected suitors, etc. could victimize innocent gun owners.
Not to be outdone, America's putter in chief, who's protected by enough firepower to take out a banana republic, is about to pen his next unconstitutional executive order aiming to disarm Americans. President Obama will "order" private citizens to do background checks before they can lawfully sell a gun to anyone – including a family member. According to Politico.com:
Obama will tighten the definition of what it means to be "engaged in the business" of firearms sales. Currently, the law says people who sell guns with the "principal objective of livelihood and profit" have to get a dealer's license through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – and therefore conduct a background check on buyers no matter where they sell, including online or at a gun show.
"Tighten the definition" is leftist-speak for rewriting a law written by Congress. It's another Obama shot into the bow of the Constitution that our feckless Congress will most likely ignore, or, worse yet, fund if House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can get their hands on another omnibus bill to show us that they can "govern."
Come November, Americans can return fire by electing a president who understands and respects the Constitution, including the Second Amendment. Conservative Review provides ratings and analysis of the candidates' positions on issues based on their records and statements.
Jan LaRue is a senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.