Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Michigan red flag law on May 22, 2023. Red flag laws have gained attention across the United States in recent years.
The Michigan red flag law seeks a delicate balance between safety and individual rights.
Red flag law overview
Michigan’s red flag law, the Extreme Risk Protection Order, enables law enforcement officers and certain family members to petition the court for the temporary removal of firearms from individuals they believe pose a significant risk of harm to themselves or others.
Upon the issuance of an ERPO, law enforcement officers gain the authorization to temporarily confiscate that individual’s firearms. This aims to prevent potential acts of violence during times of crisis.
Criteria for petition
The Michigan ERPO law outlines specific criteria for authorities to consider a petition. These criteria include evidence of threats, acts of violence or dangerous behavior.
In some situations, the law allows authorities to issue an ERPO ex parte. This means the issuance occurs without the subject’s knowledge or participation. However, even in these cases, a full hearing must occur to allow the individual to contest the order.
Duration of the order
ERPOs are temporary and typically have a duration of up to one year. The subject of the order may have the opportunity to demonstrate that they no longer pose a risk, which can lead to the order’s termination.
Controversy and concerns
Proponents of Michigan’s red flag law argue that it upholds due process rights by allowing individuals subject to ERPOs to contest the orders in court. This safeguards against unjust or unwarranted confiscation of firearms.
Critics of red flag laws have raised concerns about potential misuse and infringements on Second Amendment rights. They argue that safeguards must be in place to prevent false or malicious petitions.