Extreme Risk Protection Orders are Trojan Horse legislation leading to unlawful confiscation.
Bottom line up front: Since the introduction of Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) in 2016, domestic violence fatalities have increased in the State of Washington.
Colloquially known as Red-Flag Laws, ERPO's are sold to voters as a way to:
Cool, what decent human-being would be opposed to preventing individuals from harming themselves or others? This is such a good idea why didn't we have laws to prevent people from harming others or themselves before?
Admittedly, the issue of domestic violence is a delicate subject. There is no easy way to oppose legislation like Red-Flag laws without appearing to support abusers. Silencing opposition using these methods of policy writing is beautiful in a way. However, this demonstrates that Extreme Risk Protection Orders are more about policy than the results that are produced. For example, using loaded language like "EXTREME," "RISK" and "PROTECTION" are subjective and further marginalize anyone who may suddenly find themselves under such an order.
Why do I care if the government is confiscating and destroying people's firearms who may or may not be extreme risks to society? Well, our right to self-defense comes from nature. Nature gave animals self-defense mechanisms as both prey and predator. A bull-moose has antlers and hooves, a cougar has claws and sharp pointy teeth, a human has their brain. Our right to self-defense is recognized and honored in the Constitution of the United States of America. The Second Amendment makes America exceptionally unique as a nation. We believe as Americans that the State ought not have a monopoly on modes of violence. Historically, an individual did not and would not have had their right to own firearms removed without a trial and a burden of evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt they committed a criminal offense. With Extreme Risk Protection Orders the burden of evidence to take away someone's right to own firearms is lowered to the lowest possible standard called preponderance and creates a reality where we prosecute individuals for pre-crime. Relying on preponderance means all that is required for someone to have your firearms confiscated and destroyed is for them to submit a sworn affidavit saying they are scared or frightened of you. If our Rights are easily eroded then they are not Rights, but merely a privilege given and taken by those who rule over us.
The ERPO's have not lowered fatalities from homicide or suicide, so what are they preventing? Legislation that is divorced from outcomes and results, but adds more rules to the rule book because it feels good is a Wilsonian approach to public governance.
As a survivor of domestic violence, I am invested in finding ways to authentically address the issue, so what do we do?