Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill into law that allows police to confiscate privately-owned guns. The bill, SB 719 A, was introduced by Republican Sen. Brian Boquist and passed largely by Democratic legislators.
The bill gives the state the authority to confiscate guns belonging to law-abiding citizens if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others.
“[This law] creates the process for obtaining extreme risk protection order prohibiting person from possessing deadly weapon when court finds that person presents risk in near future, including imminent risk, of suicide or causing injury to another person,” reads a summary of the bill.
Critics of the bill point out that the law allows police to seize property without any form of due process.
“[It] allows people who are not mental health professionals, who may be mistaken, and who may only have minimal contact with the respondent to file a petition with the court and testify on the respondent’s state of mind,” said the NRA in a statement.
“This…order…strips the accused of their Second Amendment rights, would be issued by a judge based on the brief statement of the petitioner,” argues the NRA. “The accused would not be afforded the chance to appear in court to defend themselves against the allegations when the [order] is issued. These orders may be issued without any allegations of criminal behavior.”
In addition, the bill allows police to prevent people from purchasing guns without any criminal conviction. Gun-rights supporters point out that this can be used to harass would-be gun owners and prevent lawful gun ownership.
Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation said the law eliminates the “safeguard that protects a person’s right to have the means to protect themselves.”
Brown defended the bill saying that gun owners can sue to have their rights restored. She said the law is the “best way that a person who is at risk of harming themselves or others is identified, while still ensuring their rights are protected by a court review.”
Falsely filing a report against an individual carries a punishment of up to one year in jail or a fine up to $6,250.
Other states have attempted similar gun control schemes only to be shut down by the courts. Time will tell whether this new law suffers the same fate.