The first firearm seizure has occurred under a controversial new firearms measure enacted by Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the order was issued Friday by a Broward County judge.
“Four firearms and 267 rounds of ammunition were ordered removed from a 56-year-old Lighthouse Point man who was determined to be a potential risk to himself or others,” the Sentinel reported.
“The guns and ammunition have been temporarily removed from the man under the state’s new ‘risk protection’ law, which is also sometimes called ‘red flag’ legislation, Lighthouse Point City Attorney Michael Cirullo confirmed,” the paper continued.
“The man was also taken to a hospital for involuntary psychiatric treatment under the state’s Baker Act. But the civil ruling removing his access to guns and ammunition was granted under the new legislation — which permits confiscating guns from people who have not been committed but are deemed a potential risk to themselves or others, according to the order signed by Broward’s Chief Judge Jack Tuter.”
The law allows a family member or law enforcement to petition a judge to take away the weapons of an individual deemed to be a risk.
The judge can then decide whether the guns will be confiscated from the individual.
“This is not about the Second Amendment and it’s not about the NRA,” said Glenn Troast, the mayor of Lighthouse Point.
“We need commonsense gun laws and this is a commonsense gun law that gives police officers new tools they need to help us protect our community.”
The bill has divided gun rights proponents.
On one hand, one of the biggest issues the right has brought up in the wake of the Parkland shooting is mental health and whether law enforcement has the proper tools to take away guns from those who have “red flags” in terms of mental illness.
On the other hand, worries about due process have been raised, particularly considering the fact that the bill could simply act as a backdoor for confiscation.
President Donald Trump raised some of these concerns after a listening session with lawmakers in which he intimated he supported seizing guns first, then worrying about due process later.
Given that Florida’s legislation is really the first test of the balance between due process and mental health safeguards since the Parkland shooting, it will be interesting to see how the law — and particularly this case — ends up turning out.
If this ends up being an effective tool at stopping shootings — one which preserves gun rights — it’s easy to see plenty of conservatives getting on board.
However, if it turns out to be a backdoor for confiscation without due process, this could be the beginning of a major battle for the soul of the Second Amendment.
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