Tag Archives: due process

Watch: Rep. Massie Warns Gun Control Measure Is Hidden in New Bill

Washington, D.C.— Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) took to social media to sound the alarm about gun control legislation he first warned about last year, which at the time was coupled with H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, in an effort to amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to “require each federal agency and department, including a federal court, to certify whether it has provided to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) disqualifying records of persons prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm.” 

“We’ve got about a week to act,” Massie warned on March 6 in a video posted to social media. “I want to let you know what’s going on in Congress as far as gun control goes. You’ve heard a lot of ideas floating in the news—raising the legal age to buy a long gun, for instance—or a new assault weapons ban. Any number of bad things have been mentioned. But I wanted to boil it down for you.”

Back in December 2017, Massie revealed a bait and switch using the concealed carry legislation, which stated that its purpose was to amend the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.”

“What you don’t know, and what virtually no one in Washington wants you to know, is that House leadership plans to merge the fix-NICS bill with popular Concealed Carry Reciprocity legislation, HR 38, and pass both of them with a single vote,” Massie wrote last year. “Folks, this is how the swamp works. House leadership expects constituents to call their representatives demanding a vote on the reciprocity bill, when in fact the only vote will be on the two combined bills.”

The Senate’s version of the Fix NICS Act designated $625 million to expand the national background check database. Massie stated that of the most startling aspects of the legislation is that “it compels administrative agencies, not just courts, to adjudicate your second amendment rights,” which Massie said fulfills an Obama administration agenda of obligating other governmental agencies to add names of people banned from gun purchases to the NICS database.

In reference to the Fix NICS legislation, Congressman Massie noted:

The bill encourages administrative agencies, not the courts, to submit more names to a national database that will determine whether you can or can’t obtain a firearm. When President Obama couldn’t get Congress to pass gun control, he implemented a strategy of compelling, through administrative rules, the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration to submit lists of veterans and seniors, many of whom never had a day in court, to be included in the NICS database of people prohibited from owning a firearm. Only a state court, a federal (article III) court, or a military court, should ever be able to suspend your rights for any significant period of time…

If we continue to give the executive branch more money and encouragement to add names to the list of people prohibited from buying a firearm (without a day in court) and if the gun banners achieve their goal of universal background checks, one day, a single person elected to the office of President will be able to achieve universal gun prohibition.

According to Massie, Congress is now attempting to include the Fix NICS Act within H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act, which comes to the floor for a vote next week. Massie warned constituents that calling their representatives to express support for “stopping school violence” will unwittingly cause them to be supporting a bill that would task unqualified government agencies to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

In terms of how this plays out in the real world, Massie warned, “If you tell someone at the VA that somebody else manages your money, they can take away your right to own a gun. They put you in the NICS database. Not only can you not go to a store and buy a gun, it’s illegal for you to possess a gun or even possess ammunition. And veterans are getting thrown into this system everyday. They’re having their right to own a gun stripped merely because they say they don’t manage their own finances.”

Massie went on to say that “leadership has announced they are bringing FiX NICS to the floor next week. That’s why we only have about a week. They are going to sugar coat it. They’re going to put like a gel capsule around this gun control bill. The sugar coating is HR 4909… what they’re doing is wrapping this horrible gun control — Fix NICS… and puts a wrapper around it called the STOP School Violence Act.”

Seattle Police Achieve State’s First “Red Flag Law” Gun Seizure

Seattle, WA— A law that went into effect in 2017 introduced the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which allows law enforcement in the state of Washington to confiscate a gun owner’s firearms if the owner is deemed a threat to themselves or others by a judge. This law, also referred to as a “red flag” gun law, has led Seattle to become Washington’s first city to use the law to confiscate a firearm from an individual.

Acting as petitioners, law enforcement agencies, blood-related and adopted relatives, married partners, romantic partners, current and former roommates, and people holding other certain specific associations can apply for an ERPO in Washington against a gun-owning individual considered to be an “extreme risk.”

According to Chapter 7.94 of the Washington legislature’s Revised Code of Washington (RCW) which lists the state’s permanent laws, the petitioner must include an “affidavit made under oath stating the specific statements, actions, or facts that give rise to a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts by the respondent.” ERPOs may be granted as an “immediate temporary order” or a full order.

Within Chapter 7.94 is RCW 7.94.050, related to temporary, or ex parte ERPOs:

A petitioner may request that an ex parte extreme risk protection order be issued before a hearing for an extreme risk protection order, without notice to the respondent, by including in the petition detailed allegations based on personal knowledge that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others in the near future by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.

RCW 7.94.090 states that “Upon issuance of any extreme risk protection order under this chapter, including an ex parte extreme risk protection order, the court shall order the respondent to surrender to the local law enforcement agency all firearms in the respondent’s custody, control, or possession and any concealed pistol license issued under RCW 9.41.070.” A granted ERPO is valid for one year and can be renewed for one-year periods.

While this as been championed as a valuable tool for law enforcement, due process procedures come into question; under the provisions of an ex parte ERPO, the accused respondent will not have the opportunity to face their accuser or challenge the claim until after a temporary order is already issued. This effectively allows law enforcement take a person’s firearms first, with due process occurring after firearms are removed. 

While a court hearing typically scheduled two weeks following an order allows a respondent to challenge the ERPO request, the fact that a provision allows for gun confiscation without being arrested or charged with a crime led to concerns reportedly raised by 2nd Amendment advocates as well as civil liberties groups.

David Combs, a vocal opponent of this law when it was known as Initiative 1491, wrote:

I-1491 duplicates new laws and doesn’t provide a treatment model, while Washington State’s ‘Joel’s Law’ passed in 2015 already provides protection for individuals and those close to them by providing families a legal process for obtaining an involuntary treatment to a mental health facility when a person is determined to be a danger to themselves or others. An individual with a record of an involuntary treatment beyond 14 days loses the right to possess firearms indefinitely.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Trump Did Not Make It Easier for Severely Mentally Ill People To Buy Guns]

“We now have to go to someone’s house and knock on the door and say, ‘We’re from the government. Can we have your guns?’” Seattle Police Sergeant Eric Pisconski, head of the crisis response unit for the Seattle Police Department, told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “That can get very dangerous.”

“There’s certainly a big concern of the connection between mental health and people exhibiting violent behavior and whether or not they should have access to firearms. The ‘erpos’ give us that tool now as an option,” said Pisconski.

According to a Seattle police statement released on March 2nd, the city became the first law enforcement agency in Washington to confiscate an individual’s firearm through an ERPO:

Over the last year, police had received multiple calls about the man’s escalating behavior. In one recent incident, staff at a restaurant near the man’s home called police and reported that the man was harassing them while carrying a holstered firearm. Police also seized a shotgun from the man in another incident.

In a KATU report, police claimed the volume of complaints about an individual led them to apply for an ERPO, including reports from neighbors claiming the man was “staring” at them through a window while open-carrying a holstered pistol.

“He was roaming the hallways with a .25 caliber automatic,” Tony Montana, who reportedly knows the man from the apartment complex where he resides, told KATU. “And it created a lot of fear obviously because I didn’t know if he was coming after me or gonna just start shooting the place up.” KATU noted that other ERPOs “have been served and executed around the state, but Seattle police said they are the only agency so far to seize a gun because the owner refused to hand it over.”

“The 31-year-old man met officers outside of his apartment and was taken into custody for violating a previous order to turn over his firearms, the Seattle Police Department’s statement read. “Officers then entered the man’s apartment and recovered a .25 caliber handgun. Police are also working to obtain several other firearms owned by the man, which are currently in possession of a family member.”

“We attempted multiple times to get the individual to fulfill that order of turning over their firearms,” Pisconski said. “And he refused multiple times. We were forced, at that point, to take the next step in the ERPO law which is petitioning for a search warrant to go in and enter their home and remove the firearms from them.”

According to KOMO News, Washington is among five states that have a “red flag law” that allows seizure of weapons in circumstances in which a court is petitioned to do so. Rhode Island is considering similar legislation, and an analysis from Rhode Island ACLU has noted a number of concerns including “its impact on civil liberties, and the precedent it sets for the use of coercive measures against individuals not because they are alleged to have committed any crime, but because somebody believes they might, someday, commit one.”

Watch: Trump on Mentally Ill Gun Owners- “Take the Guns First, Go Through Due Process Second”


>> Go ahead, Mike.
>> You spoke about it, gun violence, restraining orders they’re called. California has a version of this. I think you— in you’re meeting with governors earlier individually and as a ground we talked about states taking a step. The focus is to give families and give local law enforcement additional tools if an individual is reported to be a potential danger to themselves or others. Allow due process. The ability to go to court, obtain an order and collect the firearms—
>> Or Mike, take the firearms first and then go to court. That’s another system. A lot of times by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court to get the due process procedures. I like taking the guns early. Like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida. He had a lot of— had everything. To go to court would have taken a long time. You can do what you’re saying but take the guns first, go through due process second.

VIDEO: Edward Snowden asks U.S. government for a fair trial

RUSSIA, October 15, 2014 – On Saturday, Edward Snowden gave an exclusive interview to the New Yorker from an undisclosed location in Russia. In his interview, Snowden repeated his request to the U.S. government to return and stand trial for his alleged crimes.

Snowden, the former NSA employee who famously leaked sealed documents detailing the government’s massive and illegal surveillance program, claims he has been repeatedly denied the right to a fair trial by U.S. government officials.

In June of last year, Snowden was charged with “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and with “willful communication of classified intelligence information to an unauthorized person” in violation of the Patriot Act.

In his interview, Snowden stated, “If I’m allowed to make my case before a jury. I would love to do so.”

Snowden continued to defend his decision to expose the infringement of all Americans’ rights by their government stating, “It was about getting the information back to people so they could decide if they cared about it. I could not have been more wrong in thinking that people wouldn’t care.”

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Minnesota: Criminal Conviction Required To Seize Property

Minnesota- Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) signed a bill Tuesday that requires a criminal conviction of an individual before the government can claim ownership of their property in civil forfeiture cases.

In civil forfeiture cases, law enforcement seizes property that they believe has been involved in a crime. The government then directly sues the item or items in question (cash, jewelry, homes, etc.) rather than the owner, and the burden of proof is then placed onto the owner to prove that the property was not part of a crime. The process of going through civil courts to retrieve possessions is costly, sometimes costing more than the seized property itself.

When the government is allowed to seize property without having to prove guilt, there’s great potential to abuse that power.

In 2009, the Metro Gang Strike Force, a MN police unit made up of officers from multiple jurisdictions with little oversight, was discovered to have been abusing its power in civil forfeiture. While their mission was to address gang-related crime, it became known that Strike Force members had been stopping people with no connection to any crime or gang activity and confiscating their money and personal items without filing subsequent criminal charges. Some employees had kept seized items for personal use, and cash and many items simply disappeared from evidence rooms. The group was shut down and about $840,000 in restitution was given to victims of the Strike Force.

Civil forfeiture is also referred to as “policing for profit” because it’s general practice for police to transfer a large percentage of money and property from seizures to their operating budgets. In Minnesota, forfeiture revenues rose 75 percent between 2003 and 2010 despite a decline in crime.

In this new bill, people who have been found innocent of crimes no longer hold the burden of proof in civil forfeiture. The cases now may go through small claims court, and prosecutors must prove that the seized property was directly related to a crime.

It was largely the attention surrounding the Metro Gang Strike Force scandal that prompted this reform in Minnesota. Despite protests from law enforcement, civil forfeiture is no longer a stranglehold on innocent people in the state.

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