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Rep. Curtis coauthors bipartisan bill to address gun violence

Today, Congressman John Curtis joined Rep. John Katko (NY-24) and a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the Protecting our Communities and Rights Act of 2018. This bill will empower communities with new tools to prevent gun violence while also preserving law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights. “While I am a strong defender of the Second Amendment, I also strongly believe that we must do more to keep firearms out of the hands of violent individuals and the mentally ill,” said Congressman John Curtis. “This common-sense bill puts in place a constitutional process, ensuring for due process, to protect our communities from individuals that pose an extreme risk to be a danger to themselves or others from obtaining or possessing a firearm.” “With gun violence continuing to plague our nation, our constituents have demanded action, and rightfully so,” said Congressman John Katko. “In Central New York, our law enforcement face a serious challenge when an individual exhibits warning signs that may escalate into tragedy. The bipartisan measure I’ve introduced today prioritizes the safety of our communities by giving local law enforcement the tools that they need to protect individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others, while ensuring constitutional due process rights are afforded.” “To reduce gun violence, we need to focus on addressing the root causes of these incidents without infringing on the constitutional rights of upstanding citizens. That is why I am a cosponsor of this bipartisan piece of legislation, which takes a commonsense approach to keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. By incentivizing states to implement red flag gun laws through providing resources to our law enforcement, we are working to safeguard our constituents from unnecessary violence, while still respecting the rights of law-abiding Texans and Americans. I would like to thank Rep. Katko for spearheading this bill, and Reps. Peterson, Diaz-Balart, Young, Curtis and Comstock for their support.” – Congressman Henry Cueller. When we work together to find solutions to gun violence, we are able to get results that make a real difference. Earlier this year we passed The Fix NICS bill to improve the criminal background check system for gun purchases, The STOP School Violence Act to provide more money for school safety and violence prevention, and my Project Safe Neighborhoods legislation which funds programs to reduce crime in our communities. I appreciate the bipartisan work done on the Protecting our Communities and Rights Act to provide law enforcement or family members the option of obtaining a court order to prevent firearm purchases and possession by individuals who pose a significant threat to themselves or others while providing due process protections. Such “red flag” laws have been enacted in several states, from Indiana to Connecticut, and including most recently in Florida. – Congresswoman Barbara Comstock. "I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this legislation that will play a significant part in addressing senseless and random acts of violence. This bill gives law enforcement and family members with additional resources to keep firearms out of the hands of someone who is a risk to themselves or those around them, while also protecting civil liberties and providing due process. Florida is one of many states that has enacted a 'red flag' law, and provisions in this legislation encourage other states to follow suit. I am grateful to my colleagues for their bipartisan efforts in offering a sensible solution that will keep our homes and our communities safer." - Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. The Protecting our Communities and Rights Act of 2018, will empower states to enact meaningful and constitutional mechanisms to protect individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others through the use of extreme risk protection orders (ERPO’s). This legislation gives states priority for existing Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants that enact ERPO legislation that meet the requirements of this bill which include: - Due Process: States may only deprive a person of a right to possess firearms after a hearing of which the person has notice and is given an opportunity to participate. - Clear and Convincing Evidence: Hearing must include a finding of dangerousness by a neutral decision-maker with an evidentiary standard consistent with deprivation of a constitutional right (by clear and convincing evidence). - ERPO Expiration: Provide for a clear expiration of the order no more than one year after it is issued and require the same procedure to renew the order as initial issuance. In addition, provides a mechanism to expeditiously return firearms when the order expires or is terminated.