Legislation that allows a way for law enforcement to take the guns of a person who poses imminent personal injury to himself or others was rejected by a Louisiana House committee on arguments that it violated the 2nd Amendment.
House Bill 483 would have given law enforcement an avenue to seize firearms from someone who posed a credible threat.
When Hogg was introduced, he asked, “Who here has been affected by gun violence or gun suicide?” Most of the attendees raised their hands.
Fifteen other states — 10 since the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school — have adopted similar legislation, said state Rep. Gary Carter, the New Orleans Democrat who sponsored the measure. A gunman in February 2018 opened fire on fellow students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 and injuring 17 others.
He pointed out that Republican governors in five of those states signed the legislation into law.
“This isn’t partisan politics,” Carter said. "I don’t want a shooting at my daughter’s school."
Police have complained that they can arrest a domestic abuser and hold the person for 72 hours. And even if the person threatened to murder a spouse, law enforcement can’t seize the guns the person owns.
“The law is set up to arrest the person; this gives law enforcement a tool,” Carter said.
But Michael Helms, a licensed gun collector in Baton Rouge, testified that the “red flag” bill tells police that they need not follow traditional due process standards to take firearms from people who haven’t been charged, tried or convicted.
Beyond violating the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects firearms, the red flag bill would allow searches and seizures without adequate probable cause, testified Meghan Garvey, of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Taking away the fundamental rights of someone seeking mental health and substance abuse treatments would only serve to dissuade people from seeking help, she added.
The House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice deferred the legislation, effectively ending it for this session, on a vote of 10-7.
Voting for allowing law enforcement to seize guns (7): John Bagneris, D-New Orleans; Barbara Carpenter, D-Baton Rouge; Royce Duplessis, D-New Orleans; Randal Gaines, D-LaPlace; Ted James, D-Baton Rouge; C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge; and Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport.
Voting against HB483 (10): Chairman Sherman Mack, R-Albany; and Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville; Raymond Crews, R-Bossier City; Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles; Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs; Frank Howard, R-Many; Joseph Marino, No Party-Gretna; Stuart Moss, R-Sulphur; Nicholas Muscarello, R-Hammond; and Steve Pylant, R-Winnsboro.
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