This week President Obama's newly appointed US Attorney for the entire state of Oregon, Dwight Holton, organized a conference in Portland with local law enforcement officials from around the state.
Here is a news story about his appointment this week to supervise the over 100 Federal attorneys in Oregon:
This meeting in Portland was an effort by the US Attorney's Office to get more referals from local law enforcement in Oregon regarding men who either have misdeamor domestic violence related convictions or who are subject to domestic violence restraining orders.
Many do not realize that a conviction of even the most minor crimes of violence, such as 4th Degree Assault, will now cause a person to forfeit their right to own firearms for the rest of their life, under recently expanded federal domestic violence statutes.
Holton wants these cases to not only be prosecuted, but also referred to the US Attorney's office, so they can then proceed under Federal law to remove the person's firearms.
In addition, Holton wants Federal officials notified whenever a permanent protective order is issued in an Oregon court against a domestic partner. For this will also allow the Federal government to take away that person's firearms too.
A discrepancy in state and federal law, however, is preventing Federal officials from proceeding in some of these protective order cases. Federal law requires that a defendant have a hearing in state court regarding the protective order, before their guns can be taken from them. In other words, the accused man is guaranteed due process, and given a chance to defend himself in court against the allegations in the complaint requesting a permanent protective order.
Oregon state law, however, allows courts the option to convert a temporary protective order into a permanent one, without any hearing being held. In such cases, a person can then find themselves subject to a permanent protective order, without having any opportunity at all to confront and challenge the allegations against them, and give their side.
What Obama's new US Attorney Holton has proposed is that US Attorneys pursue a test case, and remove firearms from individuals in these cases too, even though a hearing has not been held. And then see if the courts will rule in favor of supporting this.
To me, though, this would be going down a most dangerous and slippery slope, in my opinion. While no one disagrees that domestic violence is a serious problem, creating a system where a person can lose their firearms without receiving any due process at all seems to me to be clear case of unconstitutional overkill.
Do gun owners have to give up all of their constitutional rights, in the name of supporting the fight against domestic abuse?
What about cases where angry and vindictive wives and live-in girlfriends simply lie, and make up false things in order to get a protective order, and have the man thrown out of the house? Don't you think that some protections are necessary, in order for such permanent protective orders to not be abused, and firearms unjustly taken away?
Must the man not only be tossed out on the street, but give up his guns too?
Keep in mind that this would all be done without the person ever being convicted of any crime, and never even being given a chance to challenge the allegations made against them in the request for the permanent protective order.
Here is a link to one of the news reports about this LE conference held by US Attorney Holton in Portland:
The federal government seems to be going overboard on this issue, in my opinion.