Gun News of the Week: Some Doctors Call to Confiscate Guns of Those Deemed an ‘Imminent Risk’
Plus: Bill Creates Tax Credit for 'Smart Gun' Research, Production
AMA: Confiscate Guns Of Those Deemed An ‘Imminent Risk’
The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates on June 13 approved “common-sense” demands for an exhaustive list of gun control measures, including proposals to ban the sale of firearms and ammunition to those under 21 years of age; “all assault-type weapons” bump stocks and related devices; high-capacity magazines and armor piercing bullets; establish a national gun registry for all firearms and a gun licensing system for gun owners.
Why is this important? It is important because, according to OpenSecrets.org, the AMA has spent $6.7 million lobbying Congress this year and it will spend much more in political contributions this summer and fall supporting gun-control candidates.
In a statement accompanying the AMA’s call for “common-sense” gun control, AMA President David O. Barbe said the measures are necessary steps to combat the “public health crisis” of gun violence in the United States.
“Every day physicians are treating suicide victims, victims of domestic partner violence, and men and women simply in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Barbe writes. “It doesn’t have to be this way, and we urge lawmakers to act.”
The most scary AMA “common sense” betrayal of fundamental individual rights is a proposal to create a new legal procedure by which “family members, intimate partners, household members and law enforcement personnel” can petition courts to confiscate firearms from people “when there is a high or imminent risk for violence.”
Who determines that “risk?” What due process is accorded the “accused” before rights are arbitrarily shunted aside?
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Bill Creates Tax Credit For ‘Smart Gun’ Research, Production
Connecticut Democrat Rep. James Himes on June 14 submitted a proposed bill into the House Ways and Means Committee that would provide a “smart guns” tax credit for researching and developing “smart gun” technology.
The Start Advancing Firearms Enhancements and Technology Act, introduced as HR 6109, would create federal tax credits that would subsidize 100 percent of research and, should the “smart” firearms become commercially available, exempt manufacturers from long-standing federal excise taxes.
Himes said the bill would make “smart gun” development less risky and guns cheaper to buy for the consumer.
“If we can incentivize manufacturers to invest in smart gun technology and encourage consumers to buy those products, we can prevent more accidents, reduce violence committed with stolen guns, protect children and bring overall fatalities down,” he said in a statement. “And, let’s be very clear, saving lives is the absolute top priority.”
The bill will increase the tax credit for R&D into firearm technology that incorporates biometric or fingerprint locks and radio-frequency identification to offset the full cost of investing in its development. The credit would be available for both those already conducting such research in the field as well as to new start-ups, according to George Eger at Guns.com.
Further, Eger adds, it would exempt the firearms and their components from the current 10-11 percent federal excise tax assessed against the manufacturer.
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Number Of States With ‘Red Flag’ Gun Laws Doubles After Parkland
“Red flag” laws are gaining momentum in state legislatures across the nation, especially in the four months since the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Before Parkland, only five states ― California, Washington, Oregon, Indiana and Connecticut ― had red flag laws. Since Parkland, five more states have adopted red flag laws — Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island and New Jersey.
Three Republican governors have signed red flag bills into law this year. A bill in Illinois is awaiting a Republican governor’s signature with other states poised to consider such laws before the end of the legislative session.
As Nick Wing and Melissa Jeltsen report in a June 16 Huffington Post article, Texas could be among the next states to consider legislation, after the governor, a Republican with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, called for a study on the initiative in the wake of the May school shooting in Santa Fe, south of Houston.
In most states, a person must be convicted of specific crimes — felonies — before losing his or her right to possess firearms, even if the behavior sets off alarm bells. But under a red flag law, “concerned parties” can ask courts to temporarily remove guns from a person who is showing signs of violence by issuing a “gun violence restraining order” or “extreme risk protection order.”
In some cases, in some red flag laws, judges can also authorize police to immediately confiscate firearms in the individual’s possession.
The NRA, in general, recognizes the need for red flag laws — but only supports those that include well-vetted due-process procedures.
Florida’s red flag law was adopted less than a month after the Parkland shooting and began to be used almost immediately. The first known order, according to Wing and Jeltsen, was obtained by Lighthouse Point Police, who responded to a welfare check on a man acting erratically at his condominium building.
The man told police that he was being targeted by a neighbor who could shapeshift and resembled Osama Bin Laden. Officers requested an order to seize his guns, which included two pistols, a revolver and a 12-gauge shotgun.
Allison Anderman, managing attorney at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, dismissed due-process concerns raised by civil rights organizations.
“The law has a legal standard that has to be met, and it’s a pretty high legal standard in almost all states,” Anderman told Wing and Jeltsen. “The judges who are tasked with evaluating this evidence have to do their job.”
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IN THE COURTS
Civil Rights Advocates Challenge Maryland Bump Stock Ban
Maryland Shall Issue (MSI) on June 11 filed a 26-page complaint in federal district court challenging Maryland’s April-adopted ban on devices that increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic firearms.
MSI maintains the ban, which prohibits the manufacture, possession, sale or transfer of any “rapid fire trigger activator” such as a bump stock, violates both the federal and state constitution. It goes into effect Oct. 1.
MSI President Mark W. Pennak told the Associated Press that the suit specifically targets Senate Bill 707 “on multiple grounds, including as unconstitutional taking of private property under the Takings Clause of the federal Constitution and the Maryland Constitution and as unlawful seizure of private property under Article 24 of the State Constitution.”
SB 707 provides that a person may not “transport” into Maryland or “manufacture, possess, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, or receive a rapid-fire trigger activator.” The bill defines “a rapid-fire trigger activator” to include “any device, including a removable manual or power-driven activating device, constructed so that, when installed in or attached to a firearm the rate at which the trigger is activated increases; or the rate of fire increases.”
The law further defines a “rapid-fire trigger activator” to include a “bump stock, trigger crank, hellfire trigger, binary trigger, burst trigger system, or a copy or a similar device, regardless of the producer or manufacturer.”
A violation of the new law is punishable with up to 3 years in prison or a fine of $5,000 or both.
MSI’s complaint also alleges that SB 707 is “unconstitutionally vague and violates the Due Process Clause in making continued possession of so-called ‘rapid-fire trigger activators’ contingent on obtaining Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) ’authorization,’ where the BATF has publicly stated that lacks the legal authority to accord any such “authorization.”
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