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Stop STOP (Arizona SB 1519)

Gov. Doug Ducey's gun control bill includes a 'Lock up Your Safety' provision and is another step closer to 'Universal Background Checks. It is important that you act immediately and email the following to each of the committee members. The Arizona legislature, Senate Commerce & Public Safety Committee, will hear SB 1519 later this week. This bill is Governor Doug Ducey's gun control plan. The bill contains the Severe Threat Order of Protection (STOP), or as it is referred to by the anti-gun Giffords Group, Gun Violence Restraining Orders. It was scheduled to be heard today, Monday 4/16, but will be rescheduled due to our efforts.

 

 

Use the following Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee members email addresses:  stsmith@azleg.gov; wpetersen@azleg.gov; dfarnsworth@azleg.gov; sborrelli@azleg.gov; sbowie@azleg.gov; rmeza@azleg.gov; bworsley@azleg.gov; cmiranda@azleg.gov; KFANN@azleg.gov

 

Dear Senate Commerce & Public Safety Committee members:

 

Chairman Steve Smith,

Vice-Chairman Warren Petersen,

Karen Fann,

Sonny Borrelli,

Sean Bowie,

David C. Farnsworth,

Robert Meza,

Catherine Miranda,

Bob Worsley

April __, 2018

The parts of SB 1519 that are most troubling is the Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO), Red Flag Restraining Orders (RFRO), or as this legislation prefers to call them, Severe Threat Order of Protection (STOP). That sounds so much better than the Giffords preferred term of (GVRO). We assume this was your intention, to make it sound less onerous and more palatable.

These GVRO, RFRO, STOP, or whatever name you attach to these laws, gives short atonement to due process and the individual right to bear and keep arms (See Az. Const., Art. II, Sections 2 (Primary function of government to protect individual rights) and 26 (Right to Keep and Bear Arms).

A few of my specific concerns with SB 1519 are:

1. This bill contains a ‘Lock up Your Safety’ provision. If there are firearms in the home and the individual that is subject to the RO resides with you, you MUST attest to the court that the individual will not have any access to the firearm(s), such as “locked up in a safe!” So it IS a 'LOCK UP YOUR SAFETY BILL!'

2. This bill is also a precursor to ‘Universal Background Checks. One can easily predict that after an event occurs, where someone subject to a STOP was sold a firearm privately; there will be a loud call for UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS from the anti-Rights groups.

3. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, not the Clear and Convincing evidence standard contained in this bill should be required. After all, you are REVOKING and individual right and if you propose you have the Power to do so, you better be correct about the allegation(s)!

In States where these restraining orders have implemented the clear and convincing standard, it has either not been followed or it has been amended to include a weaker standard. That is an inherent danger of such Red Flag laws. It is called law-creep (think military mission-creep). That is what has happened in California. Surely you do not want history to remember you as the Arizona legislator who turned our State in to California-lite!

4. When the individual is seized, where will they be taken and held until they have the opportunity to go before a judge? Will they directly to the evaluation facility? Will they be held in a holding cell at the jail?

Moreover, since they have committed no crime, wouldn’t their seizure be considered KIDNAPPING?

5. According to the BATF Form 4473, an involuntary commitment to an Evaluation Agency as defined in this bill would render the respondent as a PROHIBITED POSSESSOR (See question 11f and subsequent instructions). If the respondent wants to have their right to bear and keep arms restored, they will have to go through an expensive application process seeking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives approval. This typically must be done through an attorney, adding to their costs.

6. How will this legislation protect the individual’s medical privacy under HIPPA?

7. An individual should not be subject to a Class 4 felony if they provide access to someone subject to a STOP.

7. In ARS 12-1882(C)(7), the following language is unnecessary: CONVICTION FOR AN OFFENSE INVOLVING UNLAWFUL USE, THREATENING DISPLAY OR BRANDISHING OF A FIREARM BY THE RESPONDENT IN VIOLATION OF TITLE 13, CHAPTER 31 OR A CONVICTION FOR AN OFFENSE IN ANOTHER JURISDICTION THAT IF COMMITTED IN THIS STATE WOULD BE A VIOLATION OF TITLE 13, CHAPTER 31.

This would include even an innocent, non-violent crime such as challenging an ordinance or law as unconstitutional.

These are just a few of my major concerns, although my concerns are many.

I demand the entire section establishing Severe Threat Orders of Protection be stricken from SB 1519.

Now on to some general concerns.

1. Judges will feel immense pressure to grant the RO no matter how thin the statement or evidence is. Second, we can claim  judges are honorable and will let the constitution and laws guide them; however, there are many examples that prove otherwise.

Moreover, many judges are not sympathetic to the individual right to bear and keep arms and will be inclined to approve the RO regardless of the evidence; thereby, making the individual a prohibited possessor under federal law. THERE ARE NO PROVISIONS IN THIS LEGISLATION HOLDING JUDGES ACCOUNTABLE. Has there been an Arizona judge impeached? I cannot recall an example of where one was.

2. Another issue is who bears the burden of the legal costs, especially if the RO is a result of a law enforcement request? The burden for legal cost must not be borne by the respondent. Suffering from mental health issues is NOT A CRIME!

3. How long or often may a judge renew the RO? Can a judge grant an additional 180-days, then another 180-days and so on and so forth?

Let’s look at some of the historical evidence where States have implemented these types of RO’s.

We can only look to a few States that have implemented them, most recently, Florida.

FL has already issued 5 RO's under their Red Flag law as of the beginning of April. One is highly questionable, but the Judge issued the RO anyway.

And that is the danger. A Judge is highly unlikely to deny the requested RO so as not to look weak in the public eyes. There could also be blowback should the judge deny a RO and the individual goes out and hurts themselves or somebody else.

What isn’t included in SB 1519 that has helped stem the tide of violence in other regions is:

1. A change in policing techniques. Examples are Sacramento’s Advance Peace, which is controversial and fairly new, ‘Hot Spot Policing,’ which has proven effective as well as Project Ceasefire which has been highly successful when implemented correctly;

2. Implementation of ‘Focused Deterrence Strategies;’

3. Neighborhoods and communities are critical to fighting crime. Englewood, a Chicago suburb, has found some success with several different focused strategies.

For example, in the 1990’s Tucson implemented a program they called Volunteers in Prevention. The neighborhoods that participated in the program experienced a large drop in both violent and property crime; and lastly,

4. Although expensive, neighborhood mental health clinics, which are voluntarily funded by the community through raising their own property taxes. This is what some of the more violent neighborhoods have elected to do in Chicago and the have seen a drop in violent crime, especially gang related crime.

These are just some examples that required some ‘thinking outside of the box’ rather than rehashing the same tired, old attacks on law abiding gun owners.

The creation of these ‘Red Flag’ restraining orders is an abomination. This legislative body should nix the whole idea and strike the entire section from the bill.

Not only are gun owners tired of these old and tired, non-working solutions, so are the people.

Let’s stop playing with people’s lives and look at what might work in Arizona and implement them, as some examples have been noted above, rather than going to the automatic default, controlling the 99.98% of gun owners who never have, and never will commit a single homicide.

Respectfully,

 

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