PURE GUN CONFISCATION BILL SUBSTITUTED FOR “RED FLAG” BILL
New Draft Stripped of Mental Health Language; Instead Creates Measure to be Specifically Used Against Gun Owners Only
Boston – On Monday, the House Committee on Ways & Means released a complete re-draft of a bill that began as an ‘Extreme Risk Prevention Order’ or ‘red flag’ bill. The new language, now known as H.4517 is completely devoid of language addressing mental health or suicide prevention, and instead essentially creates a new version of a 209A – abuse prevention order – to be specifically used against gun owners. With the clearly false premise of mental illness being removed from this bill, the Massachusetts Legislature will now take a clear vote on a civil rights revocation and gun confiscation bill. With the real intent of the bill now made crystal clear by its own supporters.
GOAL is urging the legislature to vote against a direct attack on our civil rights and instead refer the bill to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery where the underlying issues of mental health leading to suicide or violence should be duly considered.
Recently the original bill’s sponsor, Rep. Majorie Decker, was quoted in a State House News Service Article trying to separate her bill from mental health issues:-“I think it’s really important not to conflate mental health with what we’re trying to do,” she said, calling ERPO “one tool” to limit suicide and mass casualty events.”
Gun Owners’ Action League was outraged when the House Committee on Ways and Means followed her lead by releasing a completely new version of H.3610 – redrafted as H.4517 – which was stripped of any language, or even premise, that dangerous mental illness was the purpose for an “extreme risk order”.
“It appears that we were right all along when we questioned the substance of the original bill against the claims that it was about mental illness. This new draft is a complete bait and switch,” said Jim Wallace Executive Director of GOAL. “This bill was originally sold as a bill to prevent suicides and protect the public against mass murders. Seeing that the current language is completely stripped of mental health conditions, it is now clear that this is merely a redrafted ‘209A’ restraining order designed to specifically attack gun owners only.”
GOAL is further disappointed by the lack of due process for this new bill. “Two days before the bill is to be voted on by members it is completely redrafted with no hearing or debate and with roughly 24 hours to read, review and file amendments,” Wallace added. “This is not how discussions on Constitutional Civil Rights should occur.”
In addition to removing the whole premise that the bill was about mental illness, the language also:-
- Removed the appeals process for the subject of the petition;
- Does not provide a right to legal counsel;
- Removed the standards of certain evidence and proof;
- Essentially banned stun gun in violation of the Supreme Court of the United States;
- Seemingly gives more rights to the petitioner than the accused;
- Encourages local licensing authorities to invoke their “suitability” authority after the order expires. This will most likely guarantee that no one ever subjected to an ERPO will ever regain their civil rights.
Please call your state representative as soon as possible and ask them if they are voting for the new Massachusetts gun confiscation bill.