Washington (CNN) – The House Judiciary Committee voted on Tuesday to approve gun violence prevention legislation as Congress faces pressure to take action in the wake of recent mass shootings.
A High Capacity Magazine Ban and Extreme Risk Protection Orders, colloquially called Red Flag laws, have passed the Democratic controlled House Judiciary Committee. This is the most forward progress we’ve seen on national gun control legislation in nearly a decade. Right beside the ERPO and Magazine bills, the former focused on incentivising states, a third bill amending background checks also advanced.
Incentivise States to pass ERPO
The red flag bill that the committee voted on Tuesday would establish a federal level grant program to incentivize states to establish red flag/ERPO laws. These enable a court to intervene and temporarily (allegedly) prevent someone who is in crisis (allegedly) from having access to a firearm. It would also create a federal extreme risk protection order program of unknown make up.
Democrats assure us that due process will be maintained in red flag legislation. In other news, if you like your healthcare plan you can keep your healthcare plan…
ERPOs, Red Flag Laws, are the crowd favorite gun control measure at the moment. They’re seen as the alternative, or perhaps an supplement to gun bans depending on the state. On the surface Extreme Risk Protection Orders sound perfect. Look at the name, “Extreme Risk”, it evokes the imagery of dire situations. “Protection Orders”, this is about safety and protection for everyone.
S.A.F.E Act, remember that one?
The title design is about trust. Trust that, granted the power to infringe upon several constitutionally protected liberties prior to any criminal charge or conviction, that the government will stop at that much infringement and never wrongly, whether deliberate or not, misuse this power.
Outlaw High Capacity Magazines
I cannot find the text on this bill, I will keep looking as it advances to the full House floor where Democratic control will likely see it passed to the Senate. Word is that the bill grandfathers current high capacity magazines, rendering it useless as all but an extreme annoyance and infringement upon the gun owners of the nation.
If this goes to the Senate we could see a run on high caps very quickly. The President has been nebulous about what he will be willing to support, some word is expected this week but what is a mystery.
Republicans in the Senate have made supportive noises about background check changes.
Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, has publicly stated he won’t bring any gun control out that the President won’t sign. The proverbial ball is in Trump’s court on what we could see become law.
The final passed item was an amendment to NICS adding misdemeanor hate crime convictions into the same disqualifying bracket as misdemeanor domestic violence. On the surface this looks fine. The question becomes what are the misdemeanor hate crimes? Are there any crimes on that list that, removed of the ‘hate crime’ descriptor should not result in temporary or permanent 2nd Amendment rights revocation?
We are people, a society, that holds too much faith in titles and headlines to convey the information we need. If the title of a bill sounds good and makes us feel good, it’s good. SAFE Act. Extreme Risk Protection Order. Titles that sound good, the procedures are written down for anyone to see and find the weaknesses of the rules and the potential for abuse. We are counted on not to look.