Gun-owner advocates in Missouri are sounding the alarm about a pile of gun-control bills that have been pre-filed for the 2019 legislative session. One in particular would allow law enforcement to confiscate a person’s guns based on allegations by a family or household member, and Aaron Dorr, Policy Advisor with the Missouri Firearms Coalition, warns that bill (SB 42) should be considered a “red flag gun seizure law” for all Missourians.
Senate Bill 42, was pre-filed for the upcoming 2019 session by Missouri District 24 Senator Jill Schupp (D – Creve Coeur). It seeks to repeal certain sections of former Missouri gun laws and enact new sections relating to an Extreme Risk Order of Protection, with penalty provisions.
A Tuesday, Nov. 20 press release by Sen. Schupp revealed that there are seven bills that will be pre-filed to prevent gun violence in 2019. Two of these bills have similar language as SB 42. Sen. Schupp also stated in the press release that “these bills reflect [her] commitment to public safety by preventing gun violence and implementing commonsense reforms to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who may pose a danger to themselves and others.”
Seven bills to be pre-filed by Schupp, if approved, would:
Establish an “Extreme Risk Order of Protection” procedure through the courts to allow for removal of firearms from persons posing a “red flag” or significant risk of causing injury to themselves or others;
Attempt to prevent loaded guns from getting in the hands of children in unsupervised situations by requiring safe storage;
Create a 24-hour “cooling off period” before selling or transferring a firearm;
Require background checks for all firearms transfers;
Close the “boyfriend loophole” by prohibiting possession of firearms by anyone subject to an order of protection or those convicted of a domestic violence offense;
Outlaw “bump stocks” or other devices intended to increase the rate of fire; and
Establish a statewide task force to research and study gun violence as a community health and safety issue.
“Gun violence is killing innocent Missourians,” Sen. Schupp said. “Many of these senseless tragedies could have been prevented through commonsense reforms to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. We need action. The legislation I will be carrying during the 2019 legislative session will help Missouri take a positive step forward to prevent gun violence and save lives.”
“This is the most aggressive, in-your-face piece of gun control legislation I have ever seen at the state level,” Dorr warned. “Someone can make up a claim that you are a threat to yourself or someone else and then they can confiscate your guns by force, before you have even been arrested and charged, without you ever going to court and being convicted of a crime.”
National Rifle Association (NRA) Lobbyist Chris Cox said the NRA supports risk protection orders as long as there is due process. The NRA supports allowing a court to intervene and temporarily remove firearms when a person threatens to harm themselves or another person, if a judge is required to make a determination of whether the person meets the state standard for involuntary commitment, and when the removal of a gun is accompanied by mental health treatment.
Inversion of Due Process?
Dorr contends that SB 42 is the ultimate inversion of due process. “Instead of being innocent until proven guilty, it is the complete opposite – you are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent,” Dorr said.
SB 42 would allow an “Extreme Risk Order of Protection” to be filed by a family or household member of the respondent or a law enforcement officer, or agency. The Extreme Risk Order of Protection can be “either an ex parte order, or a full order of protection.” An ex parte hearing is sufficient for an Extreme Order of Protection and ex parte defined means with respect to or in the interests of one side only or of an interested outside party.
SB 42 specifically states that an ex parte hearing is sufficient to confiscate firearms. There is no provision that the respondent is to be notified of a pending court hearing. “An angry spouse, or a jilted girlfriend or boyfriend, can accuse you, and you will have your guns taken away in a private hearing you didn’t even attend,” Dorr warns. “Even if you did know about the hearing, you cannot attend.”
The confiscation process would begin with a sworn allegation from a family member, household member, law enforcement officer, or agency that a person is a threat because they own a gun. (Page 7, lines 140 to 142)
Line 146 states the petitioner must identify the number, types, and locations of any firearms the petitioner believes to be in the respondent’s current ownership, possession or control. “This is a good reason to purchase guns from a private party, so that nothing is put down on government paper,” Dorr advised. Missouri is considered to be a gun-owner-friendly state:
-Constitutional carry is legal
-Gun owners do not have to have a permit to purchase a gun, and
-Gun owners do not have to tell anyone if they purchased a gun from a private party (rather than a dealer)
What You Need To Know About Missouri’s Concealed Carry Law
Missouri is one of the most 2nd Amendment-friendly states, thanks to recent laws that put concealed carry on the same footing as open carry.
More Takeaways From SB 42
Page 7 line 152 – 154 — asks the petitioner to identify if they have knowledge that the respondent is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. If carrying a concealed weapon is a condition of the respondent’s employment, such as with a police officer, a security guard or a person involved in corporate self-defense training. They can contact their employer (SB 42 Page 9 Line 197-199) and they can take away their gun, which could result in loss of employment.
Page 7 Line 154 – 156 — states the gun can be confiscated regardless of whether or not there is “any pending action against the party.” Dorr explained, “They can be a 50-year law abiding citizen. It does not matter if a person has animosity towards them, or whether there is even any pending action against each other, they can take their guns. Before they ever set foot in a courtroom.”
Page 8 line 186 — no fees for filing or service of process may be charged by a court, or any public agency, to petitioners filing an Extreme Risk Order of Protection.
The respondent would have 48 hours to surrender their gun after the order is issued. And according to SB 42 Page 9 Line 205 – 206, they would be placed into custody of the law enforcement agency serving the order, for the duration of the lawful search of the respondent and “any area” where probable cause exists that a firearm to be surrendered is located. Law enforcement would then (Line 211) take possession of all firearms belonging to the respondent that are surrendered, in plain sight, or discovered pursuant to a lawful search.
Page 10 line 250 – 252 — if a respondent wants to file a motion to modify or rescind an Extreme Risk Order of Protection, they must file a motion within 14 days after they are served, or receive notice, of the order. If they go beyond 14 days, they lose their window to file to rescind the order, unless they can provide reasonable cause for not filing within 14 days.
Getting Your Guns Back
Under SB 42, a hearing could be conducted, and if the Extreme Risk Order of Protection is terminated, or expires without renewal, the law enforcement agency holding the firearms would be required to return them, after:
-confirming through a background check administered by the Missouri State Highway Patrol that the respondent is currently eligible to own or possess firearms under federal and state law
-and after confirming with the court that the Extreme Risk Order of Protection has terminated, or has expired without renewal.
Confiscating Your Firearms…Again
However, SB 42 (Page 11 Lines 271-272) allows that the petitioner or “the court” that issued the original extreme risk order of protection, “on its own motion,” may move to renew the Extreme Risk Order of Protection (at no cost or repercussion to them) if probable cause is shown that the respondent continues to pose a significant risk of to himself or others.
Loss of Guns, Employment, Money and Freedom
Any person who refuses to comply with an Extreme Risk Order of Protection (refuses to give up their firearms) would be held in contempt of court and could be imprisoned for not more than 180 days, be fined up to $1,000, or both.
Petition to Oppose Extreme Risk Order of Protection
The Missouri Firearms Coalition believes SB 42 does not offer due process and they are working to build grassroots opposition to the bill. Persons interested in signing a petition against SB 42 may contact them at 573-338-4206 or visit www.missourifirearmscoalition.org
Sen. Jill Schupp, a Democrat, was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2014. Sen. Schupp represents the 24th Senatorial District, which is located in St. Louis County. Interested persons may contact Sen. Schupp at 573-751-9762 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Janet Dabbs | Lake Expo