Congress included a gun confiscation provision in the latest National Defense Authorization Act, and pro-gun groups are sounding the alarm.
The provision allows military judges and magistrates to issue a “military court protective order” for the purpose of protecting the victim of stalking, domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault, among other offenses. Like similar “red flags” laws passed by dozens of states, the law would allow a judge to confiscate firearms before the alleged perpetrator has been convicted of any crime.
While the law would not affect the non-military population, gun-rights groups are calling out House Republicans who voted for the legislation.
“BREAKING: Red Flag Gun Confiscation passes the House of Representatives 316-113 with the support of 135 Republicans. How did your Representative vote?” Gun Owners of America asked on Twitter. Click here to view members who voted Yes and No.
BREAKING: Red Flag Gun Confiscation passes the House of Representatives 316-113 with the support of 135 Republicans.— Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) September 24, 2021
How did your Representative vote?
North Carolina Congressman Greg Murphy blasted his colleagues for trying to “conceal” the provision.
“I am outraged that House Democrats are once again trying to conceal unconstitutional red flag laws in the NDAA that could be used to unjustly deprive American servicemembers of their Second Amendment rights,” said Rep. Murphy.
The gun confiscation portion of the law is unlikely to pass the Senate, Murphy reports. “Both Republican and Democrat leadership have publicly assured Congress that this egregious language WILL be removed from the final version of the NDAA,” he said.
GunsAmerica’s Clay Martin, a retired Marine and Green Beret, believes the DOD is experimenting with gun confiscation policies, and the law should be a wakeup call to the general public.
“The military is an easy test bed for policy changes. We inside it have known the DOD is as much a social experiment as a fighting force, for decades,” he said. “While it is true you give up a lot of rights to be a member of the military, this clearly goes too far. Those guilty of wrong think will be the first punished under these new laws. It should be a huge warning sign to the population at large.”
Like other red flag laws, the new “military court protective order” would allow a judge to remove a person’s firearms on an “ex parte” basis, meaning without a hearing or trial. A hearing at which the alleged suspect can be heard and present evidence must be called within 30 days of the order, but it would still allow military members to be “forcibly disarmed of their lawfully-possessed firearms before having so much as an opportunity to contest the accusations against them and present evidence in their defense,” according to the NRA.
Unlike other red flag laws, the military protective order can only be requested by a magistrate, a judge, or the victim of an alleged offense. Civilian “red flag” laws often allow a person’s family members, friends, or teachers to request a gun confiscation order.
In addition, only the victims of a “covered offense” can request a protective order. These include offenses like rape, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence. Military personnel can also have a protective order issued against them for the alleged crimes such as conspiracy, mutiny, and sedition.
Most red flag laws, by contrast, allow guns to be confiscated under the much vaguer “danger to self or other” standard.
Click here to read the text of the bill — search “military court protective order” to find the relevant sections.