The following is a video transcript.
This month, we want to discuss a topic appearing on the news lately: “red flag laws.” While red flag laws have been introduced in the North Carolina legislature and the U.S. Congress, no such laws have been passed yet, and are unlikely to be passed this year. But, what are red flag laws? And what do they mean for gun owners?
RED FLAG LAWS AND EX PARTE ORDERS
Red flag laws allow a judge to order the seizure of an individual’s firearms. These bills allow for an individual to request an extreme risk protection order that would remove firearms from another person who poses a danger of causing harm to himself, herself, or others in the near future, by having access to firearms. An ex parte order may be issued removing guns prior to any hearing if a judge finds reasonable cause to believe an individual poses a danger.
“Ex parte” means the gun owner does not need to be present or even aware of the efforts to remove their firearms when the initial order is signed. Ex parte orders may be in effect for 30 days or longer if a judge finds good cause. Someone who has their guns removed is entitled to a hearing within 30 days. If a judge finds by a preponderance of the evidence that an individual poses a danger, the judge may issue an extreme risk protection order and remove all firearms for up to one year—and that order can be renewed for longer than a year. These bills are also likely to include both criminal and civil penalties for violations.
CONCERNS OF RED FLAG LAWS
Some of the concerns about these laws are that false applications may be made out of greed, spite, or for other reasons. While an individual may ultimately prevail at a hearing and regain their firearms, it would not be an easy remedy to replace the aggravation and money spent to defend a false claim.
Now, these laws have not been passed in North Carolina or in Congress, and may never be passed, but it is important to educate yourself and be aware of these laws. For more information about red flag laws and how they impact your rights, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.