Confiscating Guns Without Due Process
Last month, the following bills dealing with domestic violence were introduced in both the Maryland State Senate and House: Senate Bill 144, Senate Bill 210, Senate Bill 267, Senate Bill 268, House Bill 214, House Bill 296 and House Bill 302. These bills may be voted upon as early as Thursday, March 5 and it is imperative that you contact your State Legislators and express your concern about these bills.
Simply put, these bills require subjects of final and temporary protective orders to surrender their firearms to law enforcement until the order expires. Unlike the federal law that prohibits gun possession in these circumstances, these bills would require law enforcement to seize someone’s firearms, even if the subject of the order had no opportunity to participate in the hearing; federal law allows a person to find other places to dispose of his guns while an order is in effect.
Information from the governor’s office, as reported by WBAL TV, states that there are in excess of 6,700 final protective orders and 382 temporary orders on file with the state. Only 75, barely over 1%, involve gun owners.
Though domestic abuse is undeniably tragic and deplorable, these bills are an unnecessary and unfair overreaction. Under these bills, a victim of false allegations who had no opportunity to contest those charges in court cannot defend himself at home or simply possess his own guns for any other lawful purpose.
While domestic violence is a deplorable and despicable crime, these bills trample upon Marylanders’ due process rights. Please contact your State Legislators and respectfully express your concern regarding SB144, SB210, SB267, SB268, HB214, HB296, and HB302. Contact information can be found by clicking here.