State Rep. Jaime Greene today opposed partisan legislation that would let government violate fundamental due process protections and confiscate weapons from law-abiding citizens.
The bills would create extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs), also known as red flag orders, to seize weapons from any individual who others say is likely to injure themselves or another person with a firearm. Greene, R-Richmond, noted that the bills give courts broad discretion to confiscate firearms from individuals based on very little evidence, instead shifting the burden of proof to the defendant to prove they should be allowed to keep the gun they own lawfully. She also expressed concern that the bills provide no right to counsel for the defendant if they cannot afford it, and no right to a hearing or a psychological evaluation before the court issues an order and a person’s guns are seized.
“A vindictive former roommate or a scorned ex would be able to file for one of these orders and strip someone of their Constitutional rights,” Greene said. “Meanwhile, the person losing their rights has no guarantee that they will be given an opportunity to face their accuser or a right to representation from an attorney if they cannot afford one.”
Greene said Michigan must get tougher with criminals who violate the state’s current laws before considering additional changes that would not address the real issues which is our mental health crisis.
“The evil that took place at Oxford and at MSU is horrific. The loss of innocent lives and the torment and trauma the survivors continue to experience is absolutely heartbreaking,” Greene said. “That’s why it’s so hard to see bills that make people feel like we are ‘doing something,’ but don’t actually deal with the real issues that cause these horrific acts. What we should be doing is getting people with mental health problems the help they need.”
In a speech before the House vote, Greene pointed out that even when an extreme risk protection order is executed on an individual who truly a risk, it fails to make sure that person receives treatment.
“This proposal seeks to send police officers to someone’s home to take their guns and then leave them alone in their thoughts – potentially with access to knives, pills, or other items they could use to harm themselves or others,” Greene said. “Taking away a gun does not cure someone of being suicidal or homicidal.”
“When we make guns the scapegoat for society’s mental health crisis, it deflects our attention from real solutions. A much better approach would be to better utilize the laws we already have to help someone who is mentally ill and a danger to themselves or others to get the assistance they need.”
Despite Greene’s opposition, the legislation passed the House and now proceeds to the Senate for further consideration.
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