Effective Jan 1. 2020, now close relatives or police can apply for a court order to take away your guns. This is done in a hearing of which you have no knowledge and no opportunity to defend yourself. Only after your guns are taken away can you challenge the order, whether it is frivolous or not. This is a clear violation of due process and the constitutional requirement for probable cause is absent from the law.
When you are red flagged, you are guilty until proven innocent. We know that restraining orders are often abused and the havoc that is wreaked upon the life of the accused. Without careful use and judicious circumspection from police and the courts, red flag laws can be used vindictively to harm an opponent or a now un-loved one.
Compounding this, even if someone is truly a danger, they are unable to give their firearms to a friend without a background check. It is impractical for someone to legally transfer a large collection to a friend as a dealer would have to record each gun and the fees for more than three guns being transferred are often expensive.
Nevada can go in two directions; it can very carefully apply these laws (which seems to be the case in California, ironically) or go the route of Florida and apply them badly with little regard for due process. In the SoCal county where I formerly worked, only two red flag orders were issued prior to 2019 under circumstances where there was objective evidence of a threat (probable cause, in other words).
We cannot trust the government to apply red flag laws properly, which is why they should be struck entirely or amended to give the owner a chance to show up in court. Otherwise, these laws can become a terrible tool of tyranny. Already, we have seen several instances of people being killed by police in botched red flag raids. Resistance to gun confiscation will only increase as the tools are used and abused.
Thanks to the tireless work of pro-gun activists, lobbyists, and Republicans in our Legislature, the really bad stuff was taken out. “Red flag” gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) are terrible laws, poorly executed, and destined for abuse from a tyrannical government, but we could have had worse. Among some of the wins are (from the final text):
Law enforcement must have probable cause, but civilians must have reasonable suspicion. Can the court, under the Fourth Amendment, take a person’s property based on something other than probable cause (assuming the judge cannot articulate PC themselves)?
If you haven’t seen this coming and given your guns to a trusted friend or relative by now (illegally, as explained above), you don’t have the option to give the guns to a friend, relative, or firearms dealer unless the judge graciously allows you to (and they probably won't).
It is only a misdemeanor to file a malicious false application (or for someone having their guns confiscated to violate the order itself).
Even so, the potential for abuse is a huge problem. It is foreseeable that these will be eventually used to harass and persecute gun owners, not only by the government, but by the rabid anti-gun populace and leftists in the coming cultural civil war. For now, be thankful for principled legislators that fixed the worst-of-the worst of this bill and that we have honorable law enforcement officers who are more pro-gun than you know.
A lawsuit has been filed and a request for an injunction is currently pending.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West