As published in Gunpowder Magazine on January 16, 2019:
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, attorney general nominee William Barr voiced support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) beloved red flag gun confiscation laws.
Barr said of Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), otherwise known as red flag gun confiscation laws, which give police the authority to raid your home and seize your guns:
"...We need to push along the ERPOs (Extreme Risk Protection Orders), so we have these red flag laws to supplement the use of the background check to find out if someone has some mental disturbance. This is the single most important thing I think we can do in the gun control area to stop these massacres from happening in the first place."
Feinstein, who has introduced gun control legislation numerous times since she was elected in 1992 and recently re-introduced a so-called “assault weapons” ban, heartily approved.
“Thank you, I’d like to work with you in that regard,” Feinstein said.
"Barr's unabashed support for red flag gun confiscation laws alone should send a shiver down the spine of every gun owner in America," Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, told Gunpowder Magazine. "Red flag laws trample your Constitutional rights and create a precedent of empowering government officials -- without court adjudication or due process -- to determine your mental health state. These laws throw due process under the bus, and gun owners are left to prove their innocence - whether they've been charged with a crime or not - after their guns have been taken, and they're left defenseless.
"William Barr's support of red flag gun confiscation laws and various other kinds of unconstitutional and dangerous gun control policies proves he is the absolute wrong choice to serve as attorney general," Brown said.
'Room for Reasonable Regulation'
When asked by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) if his views of the Second Amendment have changed since his first confirmation hearing, Barr told the committee:
“I personally concluded that the Second Amendment creates a personal right under the Constitution.
“...There's no question under Heller that the right to have weapons is -- firearms, is protected under the Second Amendment and is a personal right. At the same time, there's room for reasonable regulation.
“And you know, from my standpoint, what I would look for is -- in assessing a regulation is, what's the burden on law-abiding people? And is it proportionate to whatever benefit in terms of safety and effectiveness will be conferred?
“As I said just a moment ago, let's get down to the real problem we're confronting, which is keeping these weapons out of the hands of people who are mentally ill.”
“What if you could discriminate against blacks so long as such discrimination does not place a burden on law-abiding citizens?” Michael Hammond, legislative director for Gun Owners of America, told Gunpowder Magazine. “Such a law would be deemed inherently racist."
Barr admitted during the hearing that his primary objective as AG will be big gun confiscation orders, similar to Sen. Marco Rubio’s bill that would allow almost anyone to petition a court to have one’s firearms taken away.
“This is Orwellian,” Hammond said.
Support for Gun Control Goes Back Decades
Barr has a long history of supporting gun control.
In 1991, Barr supported the Brady Bill waiting period, which imposed universal background checks and a five-day waiting period for all firearms purchases. He also supported the DeConcini Amendment, which banned the manufacture and sale certain semi-automatic assault weapons.
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine or the National Association for Gun Rights.