In an article I wrote on the Risk Protection Order Law which was published on Nov. 3, the newspaper did not include the last four paragraphs, thereby leaving out significant facts.

While the newspaper did include (1) the criteria for a law enforcement officer to file a petition with the court to temporarily remove guns and ammunition from a person who is at risk of doing violence to himself or others and (2) the criteria that the judge must meet in order to issue a Temporary Ex Parte Order, it left out the following: An evidentiary hearing must be held within 14 days of the issuance of the Ex Parte Order. The Sheriff’s Office must show ‘clear and convincing evidence’, the highest legal standard in a civil proceeding, that the individual poses a significant danger of doing harm to himself or others. If the standard is met, the court issues a Final RPO, preventing the individual from possessing guns and ammunition for one year. Otherwise, the individual immediately gets his firearms and ammunition back and the case is dismissed. At the hearing, the individual has the right to testify and call witnesses on his or her behalf, and ultimately the right to due process.

The First District Court of Appeal ruled in September that Florida’s RPO Law is “constitutional, represents an urgent and compelling state interest, and provides due process.”

Ingrid Utech