DOJ To Create New ‘Red Flag Center’ Targeting Gun Rights

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


Buried in the massive omnibus spending bill House Speaker Mike Johnson allowed to come up for a vote late last week is funding for a new federal agency within the Justice Department that would effectively work to deny Americans their Second Amendment rights under the guise of being a “threat.”

The DOJ made a statement from Attorney General Merrick Garland and announced the existence of the newly established National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resource Center.

“The launch of the National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resource Center will provide our partners across the country with valuable resources to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others,” he said in a statement.

He continued, “The establishment of the Center is the most recent illustration of the Justice Department’s work to use every tool available by the historic Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to protect communities from gun violence.”

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The objective of the center is to “provide training and technical assistance to law enforcement officials, prosecutors, attorneys, judges, clinicians, victim service and social service providers, community organizations, and behavioral health professionals responsible for implementing laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to themselves or others,” the DOJ’s announcement said.

“ERPO laws, which are modeled off domestic violence protection orders, create a civil process allowing law enforcement, family members (in most states), and medical professionals or other groups (in some states) to petition a court to temporarily prohibit someone at risk of harming themselves or others from purchasing and possessing firearms for the duration of the order,” the DOJ added.

The announcement was immediately seized upon by Republicans, including Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who insinuated that members of Congress had no idea the authorization and funding for the new center was in the spending bill.

“What the hell is this evil? A Federal Red Flag center; We did not authorize this. Announced, of course, just hours after the omnibus passes,” he wrote on the X platform.

Conservatives have repeatedly criticized so-called “red flag laws” because they haven’t been effective and because they say such statutes are blatant violations of constitutional due process.

Also, there is a tendency on the left to abuse such laws. According to a January Washington Post report, the state of New York is using its red flag law so frequently that local and state police agencies noted they were running out of space to store them.

“The current bipartisan gun-grabbing method is ‘red flag’ ERPO laws wherein judges are empowered to discard constitutional rights, including due process, and unilaterally determine whether law enforcement officials may seize an individual’s firearms,” notes an explainer by the group Citizens For Renewing America.

“Though state provisions may vary, typically a family member or law enforcement officer files a petition with the court, and a judge determines if the individual in question risks committing violence against themselves or others. If the judge determines that to be the case, an order is given to confiscate that individual’s firearms pending further evaluation and hearings. In other words, the individual’s property is seized first, and due process is only provided thereafter: guilty until proven innocent,” the explainer continued.

Twenty-one states have such laws.

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“Reframing ERPO as ‘state crisis intervention orders’ is one example of how constitutional rights are diminished. Yet, threats to citizens’ rights abound. Radical ideologues on the Left have promoted notions that ‘silence is violence’ and characterize ‘misgendering’ an individual as a hostile and potentially violent act,” the explainer added

“The slippery slope of playing fast and loose with language and ever-changing definitions among the activist class, coupled with animosity toward fundamental constitutional rights, is illustrative of the potent danger that ever-expanding red flag laws pose to ordinary, law-abiding citizens. It is increasingly likely that such ERPO measures will be weaponized against innocent people in states and locales hostile to the constitutional order,” it said.

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