In passing landmark legislation to protect Second Amendment rights, Oklahoma has become the first to state red flag laws. The state Senate late Friday approved bill SB 1081, which went to the Governor’s desk for a quick signature. The bill bans cities and towns across the Sooner State from adopting the controversial and often ineffective gun confiscation laws that have swept the nation. Senate Bill 1081 specifically bars elected officials and city councils from passing any type of “extreme risk protection order”, the language most often used in red flag laws which allow pedestrians and the general public to petition confiscations against any gun owner. Those who petition such orders often cite untrue claims of “mental unwellness” or vague “dangers to the public” without sufficient evidence, resulting in local law enforcement forcing gun owners to give up their firearms.
Two pro-Second Amendment legislators sponsored the bill. Senator Nathalm Dahm and Representative Jay Steagall said their goal was to add an extra layer of protection to citizen’s rights in the face of so much failure from politicians. Sen. Dahm first sponsored SB 1081 back in September 2019, penning an op-ed that clarified his thoughts on red flag laws:
“We cannot keep playing defense while expecting our constitutional rights to survive for very long with politicians who regard them as an inconvenience or even an obstacle to their schemes. Simply standing our ground and waiting for the gun control lobby to strike again has not worked — and it never will. With the passage of SB 1081, it is my hope that lawmakers across the nation will become inspired to champion similar legislation in their own states (and Congress) that not only safeguards the rights of every American but pre-emptively takes a stand against future efforts to dismantle our constitutional rights.”
Rep. Steagall said he was proud to sponsor the nation’s first “anti-red flag” law. “So what we’re talking about here is protecting due process. I will protect due process as much as I protect — I desire to protect — the right to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” He said. Thanks to constitutional legislators like Steagall and Dahm, Oklahoma has become a stronghold for Second Amendment rights. The state also passed Constitutional Carry while states like Florida, Colorado, California, and Connecticut have adopted the draconian gun confiscation laws that afford no due process or Fourth Amendment protections to defendants. Governor Kevin Stitt signed the law this week.
“Extreme risk protection orders are basically outlawed at the state level and that also includes not even being able to accept any federal dollars to try and support or engage in anything like that,” said Don Spencer of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association. “It just adds such a wide extreme possibility of a gun confiscation. We’ve already seen gun confiscation take place in states that have this and also we’ve also seen people that have been killed in the privacy of their own home who have not been convicted of a crime by law enforcement barging in and basically killing them,” Spencer said.
Opponents say there is due process because red flag orders are handed down from a judge. “There’s a court order. It’s a temporary removal of firearms in a crisis situation. So, there is due process. It is constitutional. It’s a safety measure,” said Cacky Poarch of Moms Demand Action. “If you don’t have the opportunity to go before a judge with an attorney to defend yourself, I’m gonna say, no I don’t see it.” Spencer replied. Opponents argue the anti-red flag law is nothing more than state legislators pandering to gun enthusiasts during an election year.
“So, this is really just a show, a show for gun extremists and it’s really too bad that this is considered a priority in Oklahoma when there are so many other priorities right now.” Poarch said. “I don’t understand why people are so willing to just throw away their constitutional rights. I mean due process is the cornerstone of what the judicial system is.” Spencer replied.