The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing March 26 on gun control laws that will, according to The Hill, “likely focus on ‘red flag’ laws” that are gaining popularity across the country, but are troubling to Second Amendment activists who are concerned that they violate due process and other rights of people who are the subjects of such “extreme risk protection orders.”
One man in Maryland, Gary J. Willis of Anne Arundel County, was fatally shot by two county police officers when they served such an order at 5:17 a.m. last Nov. 6. Published reports say Willis met the two officers at the door with a gun in hand. He apparently set the gun down when he was handed the order, but picked it up again and a scuffle ensued.
According to The Hill, Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the idea is to get states to pass such laws, but “with certain guidelines to make sure they actually work.” There is much suspicion within the firearms community about “red flag” laws that seem to presume someone is guilty until he or she proves their innocence.
The newspaper noted that anti-gun New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed “red flag” legislation for the Empire State, explaining that the statute “allows family members, school officials or law enforcement officers to seek a court order to confiscate guns from an individual who is considered an “extreme risk” to themselves or others.” But can such laws be abused? That’s the question alarmed gun owners want answered.
On the other side of those concerns are cases such as the one out of Maryland earlier this week when police arrested a man identified as Kevin Dipietrantonio for first-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife, Janice Lynn, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Her death came 17 months after she had filed for a protective order against her husband, the newspaper explained. When police arrived at their home last Tuesday, they found the suspect “walking outside, holding a Ruger .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk revolver.”
The challenge is to find a way to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens while preventing tragedies such as the Maryland case that happened this week. That can be a very fine line.
Meanwhile, there are other gun control proposals coming out of the House under Nancy Pelosi that include so-called “universal background checks” and extending the time frame for a background check from three to ten days, with an additional ten days possibly tacked onto that. Graham and his Senate colleagues are likely to let those ideas gather dust. After all, the Senate allowed national concealed carry reciprocity to die without action.