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.