If Trump is for it, will Pa. pass gun reform?

  • Ed Mahon

Want our friends at StateImpact Pennsylvania to answer a question for you? There’s still time to vote! I personally think the question about climate change and local weather reports is interesting, but I won’t try to sway you. –Ed Mahon, PA Post reporter

The NRA opposes ‘red flag’ proposal as currently written

Katie Meyer / WITF

The activists who gathered in Harrisburg brought cards emblazoned with death tolls from the major mass shootings that have happened in the US in recent years.

  • Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have passed an extreme risk protection order law or similar measure to allow a court to order someone to surrender firearms if they are considered a risk to themselves or others, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which supports increased gun restrictions.

  • President Donald Trump endorsed those types of orders, sometimes known as a “red flag order,” in remarks on Monday. Even Republicans in Congress are warming up to the proposal.

  • State Rep. Todd Stephens, a Montgomery County Republican who is trying to pass an extreme risk protection order in Pa., told me he has made some progress in getting his proposal passed in Harrisburg. The ACLU of Pennsylvania is no longer opposed, for one, as the group said it was pleased that Stephens added some due process and constitutional protections to his bill.

  • But the National Rifle Association remains opposed. In January, the group’s Institute for Legislative Action put out this list of criteria for the kind of extreme risk protection order it could support.

  • Stephens’s bill meets some of the NRA’s criteria, including criminal penalties for anyone who brings false charges. But Stephens said a big sticking point is the NRA’s objection to temporarily removing a person’s gun rights through an “ex parte” proceeding, one that the defendant doesn’t participate in.

  • Stephens said it’s important for judges to have the option of ordering guns relinquished without the defendant present. “When someone’s in crisis, and you’re worried that they’re going to go out and commit a rash, irreversible act like a mass shooting, you know, time is of the essence,” Stephens said.

  • Under Stephens’s bill, if a court orders someone to give up guns, the court has to schedule a full hearing that the defendant can participate in within 10 days. After a full hearing, the ban can last three months to one year.

  • At a demonstration in Harrisburg on Tuesday, organizer Kadida Kenner said red flag laws alone are insufficient. “We need some real common-sense gun laws that protect us from AR-15s and AR-47s,” Kenner said. “No one needs to own those in the state of Pennsylvania or across the country.” WITF’s Katie Meyer has more.

Best of the rest

Steven Senne / AP Photo

Sections of a USA Today newspapers rest together, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Norwood, Mass. On Monday, Aug. 5, GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, announced that it is buying USA Today owner Gannett Co.

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