Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, courtesy of Ohio Attorney General's Office

Ohio's Yost, other attorneys general urge DOJ to scrap ‘red flag’ gun-confiscation program

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and 18 other state attorneys general are opposing a new federal program that promotes aggressive enforcement of “red flag” gun-confiscation laws.

Yost and his counterparts argue in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland that the National Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Resource Center, launched in March by the Department of Justice, undermines the Second Amendment and other fundamental rights in a flawed attempt to reduce gun violence, according to an April 11 news release from Yost's office.

“The solution to gun violence is not more bureaucracy, and it is certainly not parting otherwise law-abiding men and women from their right to self-defense,” Yost said in the release.

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The state attorneys general raise several concerns with the ERPO Resource Center, particularly how the program advocates for laws that allow government officials to “suspend fundamental rights under the Second Amendment with no genuine due process.”

So-called “red flag” laws permit authorities to seek court orders authorizing the confiscation of firearms from people thought to pose a danger, according to the release. Twenty-one states have enacted such laws. Ohio has not.

Another issue is whether the DOJ had authority to create the program in the first place, the release said. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, cited by the department as the impetus for the ERPO Resource Center, makes no mention of such a program. In fact, the letter states, funding from the 2022 federal law was supposed to go to states and local governments.

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The attorneys general also question the DOJ’s decision to partner on the project with the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. The institution’s track record of advocating for strict gun-control measures raises concerns about its ability to remain objective, making it a poor fit for the program, according to their letter.

Yost and his counterparts urge the DOJ to end the program, writing that “states don’t need ‘help’ of this sort from the federal government. We know exactly how to protect our citizens while appropriately respecting Second Amendment rights.”

Joining Yost in sending the letter are the attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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