POLITICS & POLICY
A Gun-Control Measure Conservatives Should Consider
By DAVID FRENCH
February 16, 2018 4:02 PM
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Gun-violence restraining orders (GVROs) make us all safer while empowering the individual and protecting liberty.To understand the American gun-control debate, you have to understand the fundamentally different starting positions of the two sides. Among conservatives, there is the broad belief that the right to own a weapon for self-defense is every bit as inherent and unalienable as the right to speak freely or practice your religion. It’s a co-equal liberty in the Bill of Rights, grounded not just in the minds of the Founders but in natural law.
Against this backdrop, most forms of gun control proposed after each mass killing represent a collective punishment. The rights of the law-abiding are restricted with no real evidence that these alleged “common sense” reforms will prevent future tragedies in any meaningful way.
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While there are various versions of these laws working their way through the states (California passed a GVRO statute in 2014, and it went into effect in 2016), broadly speaking they permit a spouse, parent, sibling, or person living with a troubled individual to petition a court for an order enabling law enforcement to temporarily take that individual’s guns right away. A well-crafted GVRO should contain the following elements (“petitioners” are those who seek the order, “the respondent” is its subject):
- It should limit those who have standing to seek the order to a narrowly defined class of people (close relatives, those living with the respondent);
- It should require petitioners to come forward with clear, convincing, admissible evidence that the respondent is a significant danger to himself or others;
- It should grant the respondent an opportunity to contest the claims against him;
- In the event of an emergency, ex parte order (an order granted before the respondent can contest the claims), a full hearing should be scheduled quickly — preferably within 72 hours; and
- The order should lapse after a defined period of time unless petitioners can come forward with clear and convincing evidence that it should remain in place.
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While I would open up the “narrowly defined class of people” to include neighbors and others with direct knowledge and / or concern.
A road rage victim, someone threatened on social media, someone who sees “something” on social media should all be permitted.
If they are willing to use their own time, money, and resources to make a case before a Judge, then they should be heard.
Frivolous actions should be sanctioned for those who misuse the process; like the SLAP stuff for those who file frivolous lawsuits.
The judge should be able to be able to set the time period for the sanction to apply.
The judgment should be quickly registered to prevent acquisition, a warrant issue, to search for the defendant’s weapons in “all the usual places”, and seize any found. To be returned when the order lapses.
Seems like a good idea to me.
It’s an adversarial process where defendant has rights.
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