We are sickened to read about violence every day. The pros and cons of gun ownership are well known by now. But little has been resolved regarding gun violence. Governor Kate Brown, with intent to reduce suicide numbers in Oregon, has signed into law Bill 719, which reads like it should help protect a suicidal individual from hurting themselves, but is it constitutional? The bill allows reporting to the authorities a person who may be mentally or emotionally unsound and the confiscate any firearms in their possession for one year.

A ballot referendum to overturn Oregon's new statue was filed by Republican opponents, who say they are disappointed in the verbiage and content, which allows for confiscation before due process.

The reported individual does not necessarily know about the order before law enforcement officers show up at their door to seize their guns. No defense attorney is mandated to be present, denying the right of representation. Moreover, it gives credence to opinions of people without mental health credentials to assess another's state of mind.

The misinformation regarding this controversial bill is causing tension and confusion of gun owners nationwide. Here are some facts:

  • The Bill won't take effect until January 2018, allowing time for opponents to gather the 59,000 signatures needed to force a vote in the November 2018 election
  • The Bill creates a procedure for implementing an Extreme Risk Protection Order to prohibit persons who are at risk of suicide, or who may perpetrate harm to others, from possessing a deadly weapon
  • Only a Law Enforcement Officer, family or a household member can apply for an order
  • The court can order a respondent to surrender arms and their concealed handgun license within 24 hours of the initial order. A law enforcement officer can take immediate possession of said weapons, or the respondent can voluntarily surrender these objects to a gun dealer or third-party
  • Punishment for violators is a maximum one year's imprisonment, a $6,250 fine, or both

What determines issuance by the court?

  • A history of attempted suicide or acts of violence against another person
  • Convictions for violence, stalking, DUI's, animal abuse, or unlawful use of controlled substances
  • The court may not consider mental health diagnoses or connection to mental illness

Bill 719 will spur statesmen on both sides of the aisle to sharpen their pencils, so to speak, to revise and improve this well-intentioned bill without giving up our second and fourteenth amendments rights.

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