Extreme Risk Protection Orders and Very Expensive Virtue Signaling
Above the fold headlines in both Gongwer and MIRS today suggest that RINO Rick is launching an intense effort to secure passage of Representative Robert Wittenberg’s HB 4706 and HB 4707. These bills create a new category of judicial proclamation – ‘Extreme Risk Protection Orders’ – which direct police to confiscate the firearms of anyone who is denounced to a Michigan court “without written or oral notice” to the victim. These ERPO bills have been rebranded as ‘red flag laws’ after the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. Both of Wittenberg’s bills received their first reading (of three) last year and were languishing in the House Judiciary Committee. No longer.
Here are the headlines:
Snyder Preparing Gun Control Proposal
Snyder Considers Waving The Red Flag; Sheriffs Want Cops Back In Schools
These stories are behind a paywall, but RINO Rick’s spokesperson Tanya Baker floated a trial balloon on AP three days ago. The Democrats have been all in for a while, so whether ERPOs come to Michigan will be determined by the Republicans in the Legislature soon.
Here is the problem: Some clown you hardly know can petition a judge to issue an ERPO which orders the police to seize your firearms, CPL, knives, baseball bats, golf clubs, etc. You only find out that an ERPO has been issued when the police break down your door to effect the seizure. You have no opportunity to contest the initial issuance of an ERPO in front of the judge. It is a bolt out of the blue. The police get to throw your valuable collector firearms into a dump trailer willy-nilly without any responsibility for the condition or safekeeping of your property. You, the restrained individual, then have 14 days to file a counter action. Good luck with that.
Stalinism meets civil forfeiture.
Even the mentally ill deserve due process. Representative Wittenberg and RINO Rick have not explained to the public why the mentally ill deserve the secret police treatment. Just how difficult is it to serve them and invite them to their court hearing? Wittenberg and Snyder are not willing to institutionalize them, after all. Absence of due process was a hallmark of the KGB. Somehow the left seems to think denial of due process is progress. Back to the future.
Now consider how ERPO’s can be used against you in a wicked divorce proceeding or a contested will. There is a very good reason to afford due process to everyone in the legal system. Nasty legal actions among family members will be taken to the next level without due process.
Any police officer can also apply for an ERPO, so it becomes a useful tool for retaliation and/or a backdoor route to end ‘shall issue’ CPLs. Yet the Democrats support ERPOs, so you know they really aren’t afraid of President Trump. Wittenberg’s ERPOs are available to the Feds, too.
ERPO’s are now law in five other states, so this is a developing threat to Michigan gun owners. Democratic polling house EPIC-MRA is now claiming that 70% of Michigan voters support ERPOs. But somehow they neglected to mention the complete absence of due process in their question to voters:
“A bill dealing with the possession of firearms is under consideration in the state legislature. This legislation would create a new class of court-issued protection order called an, ‘extreme risk protection order.’ Under this bill, a family member, someone in close relationship, a former spouse, a co-parent or a law enforcement official could petition the court asking for an order prohibiting a named defendant from purchasing or possessing a firearm for a period of one year, and the order could be renewed after that time. To grant such an order, the court would have to be presented with clear evidence that the named defendant poses a significant risk of personal injury to him or herself or others by possessing a firearm. Under certain circumstances the court can order the seizure of any firearms known to be owned by the defendant. If issued by the court, the name of the defendant would be entered into the network of databases maintained by the state, federal and local law enforcement agencies. Violation of the order could result in the defendant being fined up to $500 and/or serve up to 93 days in jail. Anyone subject to such a court order would have the right to petition the court to rescind or modify the order.”
“Thinking about the provisions of the bill which would allow an ‘extreme risk protection order,’ do you support or oppose enactment of this legislation into state law?”
Ed Sarpolus and the other two founders of EPIC-MRA (one improbably named Bernie Porn) were staffers of the Michigan House Democrats in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s before they went ‘independent’. Their usual stock in trade are polls which show that Michigan voters support proposed tax increases. Their poll callers are MSU Poli Sci students earning extra credit. Anyone suspect bias here?
EPIC-MRA’s greatest service to the public in recent years was declaring Hillary the certain winner of Michigan in early October 2016; guaranteed a double digit win. We can all be grateful that Hillary’s campaign relied on them.
How do ERPOs get used?
Seattle just confiscated their first firearm using an ‘Extreme Risk Protection Order’, a piddling Phoenix .25 ACP pistol, from an unidentified man accused of “staring-down customers through store-front windows with a gun holstered at his side”. So open carry and ‘staring’ are demonstrated justifications for ERPOs.
And in other news…..
Meanwhile, Radio Moscow is reporting that the State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) recently sold off two million dollars’ worth of stock in the Olin Corporation, which produces Winchester branded ammunition and pool water chemicals.
This is political virtue signaling coming at the expense of Michigan taxpayers. The ammunition manufacturers are still running flat out and generating good profits. Olin is an ammunition play not subject to the recent vicissitudes of the firearms makers. They haven’t had anything to do with Winchester firearms for years. Those are now made by subsidiaries of Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (Belgium).
Morgan Stanley expects Olin’s stock to rise 40% over the next year as profits roll in from their new ammunition manufacturing lines. Michigan taxpayers will have to make up this lost opportunity for stock appreciation in the SMRS accounts. Michigan government pension systems are chronically underfunded and this underfunding falls upon taxpayers under Article IX § 24 of our 1963 Constitution. This also tells you that the current SMRS investment officers have been suppressing stock appreciation by selecting only politically correct investments.
RINO Rick has empowered a deep state in Michigan government which cares little for the taxpayers of Michigan. Now he wants to inflict Orwellian ERPOs on us. There is absolutely no reason why ERPOs should be exempt from Constitutional due process.
Quite the legacy.