• IFC Opposes “Firearms Violence Protective Orders”

    January 28, 2019

    Imagine your government making you guilty until proven innocent and completely circumventing due process. It’s not just the Second Amendment you’re being deprived of with Emergency Firearm Violence Protective Orders (EFVPO), but it also completely ignores the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. It’s simple. You get accused and then if you can afford a good lawyer, then maybe you’ll get your constitutional rights restored – eventually. Maybe.

    Four Iowa House Representatives are now proposing “Firearm Violence Protective Orders” to create a process to stop a flagged individual from possessing, shipping, transporting or receiving a firearm when subject to an Emergency Firearm Violence Protective Order.

    Firearm Violence Protective Orders have three categories

    • Temporary Emergency Firearm Violence Protective Orders – A law enforcement officer can orally request approval from a judge outside of regular hours to impose a 21-day EFVPO that would prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm if that judge finds a reasonable cause to issue the order.
    • Ex-Parte Temporary Firearm Violence Protective Order –  An immediate family member or law-enforcement officer may file a petition to the court to issue an EFVPO if the accused demonstrates a substantial likelihood that he or she poses a significant danger, in the near future, of a physical injury to the accused self or others by being in possession of a firearm. This order is also valid for 21 days until a court can determine if the request should be extended for up to one year.
    • Firearm Violence Protective Order – Following the temporary EFVPO, a court will determine if the restriction on firearm possession should be extended for up to one year. What behavior would subject someone to a one-year restriction? The court will evaluate if the accused person in the last six months displayed a pattern of violent acts, reckless use or brandishing of an offensive weapon, a threat of violence, or any other evidence that is indicating an increased risk for violence.

    It’s tough to imagine a judge getting a phone call from a police officer with a request for an EFVPO and denying it. The backlash if they were wrong would be public and painful to the media, so why would they risk it? The threshold of evidence for protective orders is low so it is not tough to imagine that these would be any different.

    The problem is that this system could be or will be abused. We are essentially offering a blank check with our right to due process and to keep and bear arms in the balance.

    A false accusation, bogus charges, civil defamation, or a disingenuous smear on someone could place a person in a complex and expensive “Pre-Crime” process during which they are stripped of their basic rights. Brandishing a firearm? Could that be a picture on social media with a gun at a shooting range or a hunt? Giving our state and our notoriously anti-gun Attorney General Tom Miller, a blank check seems too dangerous.

    The history of civil forfeiture cases reminds us that the government has taken property away from people who were doing nothing wrong and who are never convicted of any crime, and they often spend years trying to get that property back with the burden of proof being on them, not on the government. And false accusations should be treated as an attempt to deny a person’s civil rights and prosecuted. (Greg Camp)

    HF-123 is another scheme from gun-control advocates that sounds good to the uninitiated or at a glance but is a threat to the essential rights of Iowans. Nobody should be barred from possessing a firearm with a process as simple as someone filing a report with the police. Due process is as valuable of a right as gun ownership and spelled out in both our state and federal constitutions. It is no coincidence that the four people who sponsored this legislation also sponsored the ban of semi-automatic weapons just a day before this bill was entered.

    What do we do now? This bill isn’t going anywhere in the Iowa House. However, should the pendulum swing and the minority party take over the House in 2020, it is game on for terrible legislation like this. Remind your legislators through email, phone, or in person that legislation like this is dangerous and not what Iowans want. Also, stay active with IFC through membership in our 100% volunteer coalition and by subscribing to our email alerts.

    IFC is registered AGAINST HF-123.

    Contact information is below for the four representatives who co-sponsored this legislation.

    Contact Info:

    Bruce Hunter – bruce.hunter@legis.state.ia.us

    Art Staed – art.staed@legis.iowa.gov

    Mary Mascher – Mary.Mascher@legis.iowa.gov

    Vicki Lensing –  Vicki.Lensing@legis.iowa.gov