I have heard from several people that the NRA support of the Bennett Bill is true, and the reason they support it is because they freaking wrote it. That immediately invalidates 285 for me. It should never get a hearing in committee or a vote on the floor. The Democratic Representatives currently sponsoring that bill, namely Andria Bennett, Bryon Short, Trey Paradee, Kim Williams and John Viola, should immediately remove their sponsorship. Indeed, it is in their best interest to do, politically, electorally, and morally. I will assume for their sake that they all were misled or did not know at the start that this was the NRA’s bill. But now they do, and failure to renounce HB285 in this coming week will be seen as a betrayal.
There are also further problems with HB285 that have been pointed out to me by several people in the know. First, regarding the evidentiary standard, HB285 would change the burden of proof when an allegedly dangerous mentally ill person appeals their prohibited person status from “preponderance of the evidence” to “substantial evidence.” Thus it will be harder to prove that a person presents a danger to themselves or others.
Second, regarding gun purchases, current law says a person involuntarily committed cannot purchase a firearm, regardless of whether they have been committed to inpatient or outpatient facilities. HB285 removes that restriction with respect to outpatient commitment. So if someone is involuntarily committed to an outpatient facility, you can now buy guns under HB285. Seems to undermine the entire point of the bill and current law, which is what the NRA does. If they cannot defeat bills outright, they undermine bills and laws.
The Democratic sponsors of HB285 should know that they were not alone in their supporting of HB285. I supported it before knowing it was the NRA’s bill, and before understanding the two problems the bill creates above, because 285 did contain a provision that David Bentz’s HB302 did not. That provision was for immediate confiscation during investigation. Hopefully, HB302 can be amended to provide for that immediate confiscation. It is our only path forward, since HB285 is now a nonstarter.
-285 makes it harder to track the effect of the legislation by removing a subsection that requires annual reports to the GA
-302 makes it slightly harder to sue a mental HC facility or practitioner. But it does not allow them to commit a person to outpatient if they could have access to weapons. 285 does not make that distinction of outpatient circumstances.
-285 changes who is appointing the members of the board that decides the petitions to an appointment by the governor, rather than the department of safety and homeland security. 285 also adds the addition that they be confirmed by the Senate. 302 does not change any of this.
-302 also does not allow for a person who has had their weapons taken to live with a person who owns weapons.
-285 puts a time limit on the court order to relinquish guns and ammo at 60 days. 302 does not, its until a petition and/or hearing has been completed.