In the first step of a battle that will likely end at the US Supreme Court, Oregon’s Democrat Governor Kate Brown has signed into law legislation that would allow government agents to violate people’s 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and 5th Amendment right to due process. The new law allows law enforcement to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens based on the opinion of law enforcement officers, family or household members that the gun owner is a risk to themselves or others.
The law, which was introduced by Republican State Senator Brian Boquist, was passed with bipartisan support following a concerted effort by activists with the Brady Campaign and the Michael Bloomberg-backed Every Town for Gun Safety and Mom’s Demand Action, with the latter calling it a “common sense gun violence prevention law.”
According to the law’s text, a “law enforcement officer or a family or household member may file a petition requesting that the court issue an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) enjoining the person from having in the person’s custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing or receiving, or attempting to purchase or receive, a deadly weapon.”
The plain text of the law means that individuals who are not mental health professionals and who may have had minimal contact with a person can petition the court to strip a person’s 2nd Amendment rights based on mental health concerns. The law also does not allow the accused to defend themselves against the allegations and permits the court to deprive people of their 2nd Amendment rights based on hearsay and without any allegations of criminal behavior.
The law now puts Oregon’s gun owners at the mercy of people like Judge Kenneth Walker who in a sentencing hearing last year said: “If I could, I would take all the guns in America, put them on big barges, and dump them in the ocean….no one would have guns, not police, not security. We should eliminate all of them.” The Oregon Firearms Federation has pledged to work to restore the rights of Oregon’s people by campaigning to overturn or repeal the law.