Big win for gun rights in Oklahoma this week as Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law legislation banning red-flag confiscation schemes, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO).
The first state in the Union to pass such a law, Senate Bill 1081: The “Anti Red Flag Act,” as it’s known, stops authorities from seizing firearms from individuals who are merely accused of being a danger to themselves or others.
To clarify, an individual subject to an ERPO has not been convicted of a crime nor has he or she been adjudicated mentally ill, yet guns are grabbed and 2A rights are suspended for a period of time, usually up to 12 months.
“I find it impossible for any red-flag law to respect due process or the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” said Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon) who sponsored SB1081 along with Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow).
“I have taken the oath to protect our Constitution seven times throughout my 22 years of service and nine deployments in the military, an oath that I take very seriously,” he continued in his statement to The Oklahoman. “I will not stand idly by and let this freedom be stripped from us.”
Opponents of the ban on red flag laws argued that due process is protected as the accuser has to go before a judge and provide evidence that the accused is a credible threat before the confiscation starts.
“It’s right in the name — Extreme Risk Protective Order,” explained Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa). “You’ve got to get the order before you can get the gun from the individual. I don’t think we should just show up and take peoples’ guns either. There’s a process here.”
As of April 2020, 19 states and the District of Columbia have passed some type of red flag law, according to Wikipedia.
Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President of Gun Owner of America indicated that the passage of SB1081 is an “encouraging” step in the right direction, cutting against the grain of the current trend.
“Oklahoma, which recently became a Constitutional Carry state, has been showing the way in restoring and reaffirming the right to keep and bear arms,” said Pratt in a press release.
“At a time when the anti-gun Left and even some on the right are pushing these dangerous Red Flag gun confiscation orders, it’s very encouraging to see a state stand up for the Constitution and Bill of Rights,” he continued.
Thus far we know of at least one incident where a man was killed as a result of a red-flag confiscation order. Sixty-one-year-old Gary J. Willis was shot dead by police when they came knocking at his door to take his guns around 5:17 a.m. on Nov. 5, 2018.
Following the incident, Michele Willis, Gary’s niece, expressed confusion over why the incident escalated to the use of lethal force.
“I’m just dumbfounded right now,” she said. “My uncle wouldn’t hurt anybody. They didn’t need to do what they did.”
SB1081 took effect immediately.