Soviet Justice Comes To America
RINO Rick is playing coy with his impending school safety proposal, refusing to say whether Extreme Risk Protection Orders – now rebranded as ‘red flag laws’ – will be part of it. U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell has no such qualms. The Wicked Witch of West Bloomfield announced yesterday that she intends to introduce federal Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation based upon Indiana Code Title 35, Article 47, Chapter 14 (IC 35-47-14). She claimed on Fox News Live that West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton, a Republican, will be a co sponsor.
Indiana Code 35-47-14 establishes procedures for law enforcement to seize privately held firearms from individuals deemed ‘dangerous’. An Indiana law enforcement officer can petition a circuit or superior court for a warrant to “search for and seize a firearm in the possession of an individual who is dangerous”. Or the Indiana law enforcement officer can just go ahead and both search for and seize firearms in the possession of any individual; then at his leisure submit a written statement to the circuit or superior court with jurisdiction, declaring the individual to be dangerous ex post facto.
An Indiana law enforcement officer can declare the individual to be dangerous on his own accord, or rely on the declaration of a third party informer. The law enforcement officers and informants are not required to prove any qualifications in court. The law enforcement officer and the informants are unchallenged. Their assertions alone transform an otherwise legal activity – private firearms possession – into a crime.
Indiana Code 35-47-14 claims that this is legally sufficient probable cause, but is it?
Someone who may or may not know you claims that you are dangerous. The informants are not required to prove any qualifications in court. Individuals without any mental health credentials – including the Judge – pass legal judgment upon the mental health of a third party remotely without challenge. The court is not obligated to seek the counsel of a qualified, independent, mental health professional. A legal process which would make the KGB in the old USSR proud.
You only find out an ERPO exists when the police break down your door to effect the seizure. You have no opportunity to contest the allegation of being dangerous or the qualifications of the informants in front of a judge prior to the seizure. It is a bolt out of the blue. You are afforded 14 days to file a counter action, but good luck with that. The seizure of your firearms is a fait accompli. Judges will be quite content not to disturb events past, if for no other reason than it would embarass their original determination. The Indiana Code 35-47-14 confiscation process is entirely rigged from the outset.
Genuine probable cause is never established. Indiana Code 35-47-14 does not create a warrant consistent with the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Rather, it cloaks obnoxious writs of assistance as constitutional warrants. The distinction here is the absence of probable cause. Abusive writs of assistance were the very reason that the Fourth Amendment was required by the anti Federalists to secure ratification of the U.S. Constitution. And an underlying cause of the American Revolution.
There are mentally ill people in our society who should not have access to firearms. Those people really need to be removed from society if they are a true threat to public safety, as there are many other means for them to inflict mayhem beyond firearms. Automobiles, knives, chemicals, and so on. But that is not on offer here. The proponents of ERPO red flag laws are not serious about protecting the public. They are serious about confiscating firearms.
Mental issues do not justify denial of constitutional process. There is absolutely no valid reason why an individual cannot be invited to his ERPO hearing. Those hearings can be expedited if the authorities genuinely believe an impending danger exists. Judges are routinely rousted at all hours to approve warrants. They can be imposed upon to conduct an ERPO red flag law hearing. It is their job. Law enforcement officers can arrest the subject of an ERPO hearing right on the way to his ERPO hearing. It is their job.
The cavalier treatment of constitutional rights here is how you know that ERPO red flag laws are about firearms confiscation, not public safety.