Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of over a million gun owners who are represented by the state level gun rights organizations that have signed this open letter, we are writing to urge you to publicly oppose ‘Red Flag Gun Seizure’ legislation and to veto the bill should it land on your desk.
This legislation was heard in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 26 and, based on the comments from lawmakers on both sides of the partisan aisle, it seems likely to move forward at a rapid pace.
While the National Rifle Association (NRA) is urging you and Congress to advance this legislation, we are writing to let you know that they are wrong, and that they are giving you bad political advice.
The truth is that there is an open revolt underway right now, with grassroots gun owners leaving the NRA in droves, furious with this latest betrayal. You can see this for yourself by spending five minutes on their social media platforms.
These gun owners consider passage of ‘Red Flag Gun Seizure’ legislation as an unforgivable political sin, and they are rightfully angry at organizations and lawmakers who are pushing for it.
There are several reasons why we are urging you to publicly oppose this legislation. Please allow us to briefly state our objections to this bill.
First, this bill destroys the idea of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ by allowing someone’s Second Amendment right to be suspended and their firearms confiscated BEFORE they have been convicted in a court of law for a criminal offense!
The concept of innocent until proven guilty is sacrosanct in American jurisprudence. Allowing this bill to become law would upend that, and violate the 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments in part or in whole.
Second, the bill allows the states to utilize ex-parte hearings as a part of the process. As you undoubtedly know, this means that the gun owner in question would have no idea that his Second Amendment rights are on the line until the police are at his home with an order to confiscate his firearms.
This means that a gun owner would not be able to confront witnesses, examine the evidence brought against him, have the benefit of counsel present or any of the other due process protections that he is entitled to. Allowing this bill to become law would violate the 5th and 6th Amendments in part or in whole and would set a terrible precedent.
Third, this bill is clearly designed to be rapidly expanded to allow an ever growing number of people to petition the court to remove a person’s firearms. One of the witnesses in the hearing yesterday was already urging Congress to expand the list of people who can file these petitions to include all mental health staffers.
Another witness from yesterday’s hearing, Kimberly Wyatt, is actively pushing for legislation in Washington State to allow a ‘Red Flag Gun Seizure’ order to be issued against minor children. Once the minor is subject to the seizure order, the police would disarm the minor’s parents! This bill would literally require a parent to surrender their firearms (while facing no charges) or be forced to have their children live elsewhere.
For these reasons, we would urge you to publicly oppose this bill.
America sat back and watched in disgust last fall as your Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was maligned and falsely accused of rampant sexual impropriety. Thanks to his ability to recall dates and facts, legal representation, and the help of the FBI who could run an around-the-clock investigation into these claims, these allegations were seen for being the lies that they were.
If ‘Red Flag Gun Seizure’ legislation passes, every gun owner in America would be vulnerable to losing a Constitutionally guaranteed right in the same manner! Only instead of their rights being attacked in public for all the world to see, as was the case for Justice Kavanaugh, a gun owner’s freedoms would be attacked in secret court proceedings that the gun owner would know nothing about.
As someone who has been repeatedly maligned by the press and many others, you know just how dangerous these allegations can be. Please don’t allow gun owners to be subjected to losing their freedoms and their firearms in this manner, especially as they have never been convicted in court of a crime.
Your mention of a veto on H.R. 8 has done much to galvanize Senate Republicans who are feeling heat from all sides to take action on that bill now that the House of Representatives passed it. We would ask that you do the same thing regarding S. 7, or any similar legislation.
Aaron Dorr, Executive Director, Iowa Gun Owners
Christopher Dorr, Executive Director, Ohio Gun Owners
Patrick Parsons, Executive Director, Georgia Gun Owners
Benjamin Dorr, Executive Director, Minnesota Gun Rights
Alexandra Salsman, Political Director, Missouri Firearms Coalition
David Ball, President, Wyoming Gun Owners
Jason Storms, Chairman, Wisconsin Firearms Coalition
Thomas Walker, Chairman, North Carolina Firearms Coalition
Greg Pruett, President, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance
Greg Pruett, Political Director, Washington Gun Rights