The American Bar Association (ABA), a voluntary professional guild of lawyers and law students, is pressuring state governments to implement California-style gun confiscation legislation.
The ABA House of Delegates adopted Resolution 118B during their 2017 Annual Meeting last week, a bill urging local governments to authorize courts to issue “gun violence restraining orders”.
It contained the following three provisions:
1. That a person (a “petitioner”) with documented evidence that another person (a “respondent”) poses a serious threat to himself or herself or others may petition a court for an order temporarily suspending the respondent’s possession of a firearm or ammunition.
2. That there shall be a verifiable procedure to ensure the surrender of firearms and ammunition pursuant to the court order.
3. That the issuance of the gun violence restraining order shall be reported to appropriate state or federal databases in order to prevent respondent from passing a background check required to purchase a firearm or obtain a firearm license or permit while [the] restraining order is in effect.
Under the California gun confiscation law, which came into force following the 2014 Santa Barbara attack, citizens can have their weapons seized without being convicted of any crime. Police or immediate family members can request a judge to sign a gun violence restraining order lasting 21 days, which can then be extended with the approval of the court.
The request for all 50 states to adopt the legislation is likely to be rejected by the Supreme Court. Critics assert that allowing a judge to issue an ex parte confiscation order denies the accused citizen’s right to due process, which is guaranteed by the US Constitution.
The American Bar Association, currently headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, was founded to set academic standards for law schools and formulate ethical codes related to the legal profession. It currently has around 410,000 voluntary members. Critics claim the organization is vastly overreaching with its latest proposal and blatantly attacking Second Amendment and due process rights of US gun owners.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action released the following statement:
Over the years, the American Bar Association has defended the due process rights of some very unpopular groups, including, enemy combatants, terror suspects, and convicts on death row. The organization also advocates that stringent due process standards be applied to the disposition of positive rights, such as “universal access to healthcare,” and welfare benefits. Such advocacy might give some the false impression that the ABA holds a principled position on due process rights in general. When it comes to the due process rights of gun owners, however, the ABA has abandoned any pretense of principle and adopted the prevailing left-wing orthodoxy.
Peter Langrock, the former chair of the ABA Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities criticized the proposal, stating that firearm restraining orders could potentially be used to remove a citizen’s First Amendment rights based on speech.
The ABA has a long history of gun control advocacy and has been heavily criticized by the NRA for its obvious anti-gun bias and contempt for American citizens’ constitutional rights.