The Oregon legislature just passed Senate Bill 719 which allows a family member or police officer to obtain a civil court order that would immediately strip someone of the right to possess a firearm for up to a year, should a judge find the person a danger to himself or others.
Ostensibly, the bill is to prevent suicides. Gabby Giffords calls the legislation a “responsible bill that helps keep guns out of the hands of individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.” However, per the lostallhope.com website, just over half of all suicides involve the use of a firearm.
Suffocation and poisoning make up over 41 percent. The other eight percent are split between a wide variety of methods. Paul Phillips, president of the group Oregon Gun Owners, rightfully says the bill does little to prevent suicides but it does deprive gun owners of basic constitutional protections. Gun confiscations under SB 719 will be “based on hearsay evidence alone, and the firearm owner is not privy to a fair trial,” he tells reason.com.
The bill does not limit a judge to just considering whether a person is suicidal or not. He or she can consider past drunk driving arrests or recent drug use, or legitimate exercises of one’s Second Amendment rights, such as trying to buy a gun in the past 180 days.
The Governor is expected to sign the bill and then gun owners can worry about ever being before Judge Kenneth Walker, who said in his courtroom, “If I could, I would take all the guns in America, put them on big barges, and dump them in the ocean.” LW