GOA, NRA Offer Differing Views on Trump Admin’s School Safety Report

The White House yesterday announced the final report by the administration’s Federal Commission on School Safety. The full report can be read here.

Calling it a “comprehensive approach to making sure school campuses are safe places,” the commission offered a number of suggestions, including identification and treatment of mental issues, calling on media outlets to stop using names and photos of prolific attackers, and implementation of training, planning, and potentially placing armed staff.

However, the report is drawing mixed responses from pro-gun groups thanks to one contentious point: the recommendation for “extreme risk protection orders” (ERPOs), which the document describes as “also known as gun violence protection orders, risk warrants, or red flag laws, these state laws provide law enforcement (and in some instances, family members) with a legal, temporary way to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms.” So… basically firearm confiscation and removal of Second Amendment rights without due process.

In a Tuesday statement, NRA-ILA executive director Chris W. Cox highlighted some pet issues, saying “The National Rifle Association applauds the [report]. The report includes a number of recommendations for which the NRA has been advocating for years, including reforming our mental health laws, strengthening school security, and addressing an increasingly violent culture. It also calls on the media to stop reporting the names and photos of mass murderers, which only encourages copycat behavior.

Despite the fact that existing law – specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) – already “makes it unlawful for [any person 2ho has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution] to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition“, Cox continued to praise the ERPO language of the report.  Cox continued, “Finally, we appreciate President Trump’s support for keeping firearms out of the hands of those who have been adjudicated by a court to be a danger to themselves or others in the form of state Extreme Risk Protection Orders — provided they include strong due process protections, require mental health treatment, and include penalties against those who file frivolous charges to harass law-abiding citizens.

Sorry, Chris – that mechanism for keeping firearms out of those people’s hands, and the due process protections, are already in existing law and, on their face, appear to be precisely the opposite of what ERPOs achieve.

Gun Owners of America’s (GOA) executive director, Erich Pratt responded with a decidedly different take, calling it a continuation of the President’s “take the guns first, due process later rhetoric,” referencing the case of 61-year old Maryland resident Gary Willis, who was killed while officers were executing firearm confiscation orders. According to Breitbart, the details behind the issuance of the confiscation order against Willis were not reported; all that was known was that a niece said one of her aunts requested the order.

Pratt continued, “Instead of resorting to the ‘Minority Report’ style gun control preferred by Michael Bloomberg and Chuck Schumer, President Trump should encourage initiatives like Concealed Carry Reciprocity, repealing gun-free zones and arming teachers — all measures he has vocally supported in the past,” concluding “These Gun Confiscation Orders are a violation of Second, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, and GOA will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights and oppose these dangerous initiatives.

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