Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris recently promised that if she ever becomes president, she will implement red flag laws. But what seems to set her apart from many others is the criteria she uses. The Californian believes that seizing guns from white nationalists or any person exhibiting “traits of being a danger to society” could reduce violence in America.
From local officials to members of Congress to the President of the United States, plans are in motion to make Emergency Risk Protection Orders (ERPO’s), commonly called Red Flag Laws, the national norm.
An ERPO order allows for the confiscation by force of all firearms an individual owns. An individual served with an ERPO would lose their firearms for a period between three months and one year.
In Pennsylvania, Red Flag Laws are under serious consideration: even the state’s Republican Senator, Pat Toomey, supports them. In a recent article for the Pennsylvania Post, reporter Ed Mahon listed the eight factors a “judge or hearing officer would be required to weigh” when issuing an ERPO. Each has problems, but taken together they amount to one fact: without committing any crime, ERPO’s allow a judge or hearing officer to strip American citizens of a fundamental and constitutional right.
In 1994 then-Senator Joe Biden, under Bill Clinton’s presidency, passed the Violence Against Women Act. Every five years since then, Congress reauthorizes the act. The bill allowed for the creation of the Office of Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. It also allocates funding for such. Rep Karen Bass (D-CA) bought the 2019 reauthorization to the floor of the House of Representatives, labeled HR 1585 of the 116th Congress. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi managed to sneak some red-flag type gun control provisions onto the bill.