It’s one thing to remove gun rights from someone who has been convicted of a serious crime – most probably don’t find that very controversial – but how about a bill that takes guns away from someone who hasn’t even been convicted of a crime yet? Who only stands accused of a crime?
That’s what a bill being considered in Minnesota would do:
ST. PAUL – Domestic assault suspects could be required to give up their guns under bills moving through the Minnesota Legislature.
“This bill will stop violence and reduce the number of women murdered by guns each year,” Rep. Dan Schoen, D-St. Paul Park, told the House public safety committee Tuesday before the panel voted to support it.
Schoen, a Cottage Grove police officer, said his bill requires a judge’s order before guns can be confiscated. “This bill does not allow the government to take guns without due process.”
In some cases, guns could be removed before a trial. In other cases, the guns would be taken away after a conviction.
Unlike many gun-related bills, gun-right advocates waged little opposition.
St. Paul City Attorney Sarah Grewing said 38 women died from domestic violence incidents last year, 10 in which guns were involved.
“A woman is six times more likely to be killed in a domestic violence incident if there is a gun in her home,” Grewing said.
“If you beat women and children, you don’t deserve to have your gun,” Schoen said.
It’s hard to disagree with that last statement – I certainly don’t – but I think the question hinges on whether or not the people who would be denied their gun rights are, in fact, guilty of beating women and children? Can we say that’s the case before they’ve had their day in court and been convicted based on the evidence?
I don’t think merely being accused of a crime, even one as serious and terrible as domestic violence, is enough to deny an individual their rights, up to and including their 2nd amendment rights. Either you’re innocent until proven guilty or you’re not, and getting a judge to sign off on removing rights before conviction doesn’t equate to due process.