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Judge and legislators react to governor’s proposal for safety protection orders

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Of the initiatives Gov. DeWine proposed Tuesday, the first one he touched on was safety protection orders, which would allow courts to temporarily remove firearms from a potentially dangerous person.

“These concerns of course must, our Constitution demands it, be balanced against the individual’s right to keep and bear arms and their due process rights,” DeWine said.

READ MORE: Gov. DeWine urges gun sale background checks after shooting

Congressman Mike Turner said partly in a statement, “We must pass red flag legislation to quickly identify people who are dangerous and remove their ability to harm others. Too often after mass shootings, we hear there were early warning signs that were ignored.”

Judge Richard Skelton of Montgomery County explained that a hearing would be held within three days of filing to determine if a temporary order should be granted.

“You would have to have some evidence that the person has said something, or done something, or you’ve witnessed writings, or something on social media that gives you enough evidence to be concerned,” Skelton said.

If the temporary order is granted it would require the person to surrender all firearms to law enforcement.

Then, a second hearing would happen within 14 days to see if an extended safety protection order should be issued.

READ MORE: Rep. Turner supports restriction of military-style weapon sales

Skelton says it’s in that second hearing the court would have to have clear and convincing evidence that the person is a danger to themselves or others, because there are many factors that have to be considered.

“If you talk to a person who is a little elderly, lives by their self, and they have a weapon that makes them feel secure in their home, it could be a big deal,” he said.

Representative Niraj Antani told 2NEWS that he believes probable cause is not a high enough standard and that it should be clear and convincing evidence the entire process to ensure no second amendment rights are infringed upon.

“There are various red flag proposals that are already out there that do not meet due process and would infringe on second amendment rights, so if the Governor has a new proposal, we will have to take a look at it,” said Antani.

Antani added, “This is really about removing those people from dangerous situations, from putting themselves in danger or endangering others, so this is yes, access to weapons, and when we’re talking about access to weapons, it shouldn’t be just firearms. It should be all weapons, so we certainly need to consider that as well.”

In DeWine’s proposal, if the courts grant the extension at the second hearing, the following would apply:

  • The court would order a mental health assessment.
  • The individual would be required to undergo any recommended treatment.
  • The individual would be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.
  • Any firearms from the temporary order would continue to be withheld from the individual.
  • In lieu of law enforcement keeping the firearms, individuals could have them sold on their behalf to a federally licensed firearms dealer.

Extended orders would last for a period of six months and could be extended with another petition and hearing.

An individual could apply to the court any time after three months for a return of his or her firearms, only if the person could prove by clear and convincing evidence that they were no longer a danger to themselves or others.

Skelton and Antani said this is still in the very early stages as the proposals were just announced, and have many questions that still need to be answered.

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