Cornyn-Murphy Gun Control’s Disastrous Consequences
According to President Biden, “over $231 million will fund state… extreme risk protection order (ERPO) programs.”i This is being accomplished through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act or Cornyn-Murphy sellout to weaponize Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants into an unconstitutional “red flag” gun confiscation order (GCO) program.ii
The 118th Congress must undo the 117th’s mistake and live up to their oath to protect and defend the Constitution. For the protection of the millions of gun-owning citizens in all states and territories, Congress must pass Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s Shall Not Be Infringed Act and repeal all Cornyn-Murphy gun control. In addition, these gun confiscation law subsidies must be defunded.
So-Called “Due Process” Protections Are Meaningless and Ineffective
In the summer of 2022, Congress rammed through an atrocious gun control bill without a serious understanding of its effects. Texas Senator John Cornyn, the lead GOP negotiator of this compromise, downplayed its effects, stating that:
If a state chooses to use any of this funding to implement an extreme risk protection order program, it would be required to meet strict and expansive due process, evidentiary, and standard of proof requirements… This bill would force states with red flag laws to adopt strict and comprehensive due process protections before they qualify for the grant funding.iii
But the promises of due process were never based on substance because no matter what requirement needed to happen to qualify, the bill text and final legislative language stated: “due process” must occur “at the appropriate phase.”iv This effectively undermined any requirement of pre-rights deprivation due process. Whatever due process safeguards were promised can simply occur at a “phase” after guns have been seized. This phrasing is reaffirmed in the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP) FAQ page.v GOA raised the alarm on this provision before the bill was passed.vi
All State Gun Confiscation Laws Funded… And Then Some!
GOA analyzed the Biden Administration’s disbursal of “red flag” gun confiscation grants pursuant to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and found that the “due process” protections secured by Senators Cornyn and Murphy were as worthless as we suspected. The grant program funds every single gun confiscation law across the nation and then some. Only 20 states and D.C. have gun confiscation laws. Every state that appliedvii with a “red flag” gun confiscation law on the books received funding without revising their statutes to include additional due process restrictions, including:
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
Indeed, 5 states and 3 territories received explicit “red flag” gun confiscation funding despite not having a “red flag” law on the books:
Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, West Virginia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
This grant program has been weaponized against pro-gun state legislatures and must be immediately DEFUNDED and ABOLISHED.
Bureaucrats Circumventing Anti-Lobbying Prohibitions
Courts, local and state governments, “supervision agencies,” rogue prosecutors, and even anti-gun universities are eligible to use funds from Cornyn-Murphy to help enact “red flag” gun confiscation laws.viii Although there are promises that funds will not be used for lobbying the government, these provisions are a joke. Even if funds are not used to implement “red flag” laws by directly lobbying the government, apparently nothing is preventing the funding of anti-gun propaganda to sway public opinion. In fact, according to Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) senior policy advisor Tammy Brown:
“if the state does not have that law in place, it could be media campaigns or public service announcements that would encourage the state to incorporate that type of law. So it’s really assisting those grantees that are looking at either improving implementation of their existing law or educating to potentially create that law within their state.”ix
As if that were not bad enough, BJA believes funds can also be used to study the most effective methods of gun confiscation.x Since the funding grants are given to study all forms of “crisis intervention” proceedings, which includes GCOs under federal law, it is likely that anti-gunners receiving Cornyn-Murphy grants will use them to advocate for gun control, even in states without such laws.
Indeed, of the 51 grantees that received funding for “State crisis intervention court proceedings and related programs or initiatives,” only three grantees explicitly disavowed “red flag” laws in their applications: Idaho, Montana, and Wisconsin. The remaining grantees all had open-ended applications approved, which GOA is therefore concerned could be used for “red flag” laws including:
Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Congress must immediately stop funding these unconstitutional gun confiscation programs and eliminate this failed initiative.
This fact sheet was originally written by Alex Madajian and was updated on July 25th, 2023.
[i] Office of Public Affairs, “Justice Department Announces Over $200 Million in Investments in State Crisis Intervention”. February 14th, 2023.
[ii] Gun Owners of America “’Red Flag’ Gun Confiscation Laws in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”.
[iv] Public Law 117–159, Section 12003 (a)(2)(I)(iv)(I)
[v] “Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program; Frequently Asked Questions”. Bureau of Justice Assistance. December 2022. 9-10.
[vi] Johnston. “‘Red Flag’ Gun Confiscation Laws in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”. Gun Owner of America. June 22nd, 2022.
[vii] NOTE: Florida is the only state with a “red flag” gun confiscation program which did not receive funding because it did not apply for this program according
to publicly available grant data.
[viii] “Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program; Frequently Asked Questions”. Bureau of Justice Assistance. December 2022. 1.
[ix] Fox, Palmer, and Brown. “FY 2022 Extreme Risk Protective Order and Firearm Crisis Intervention Training and Technical Assistance Initiative Transcript”. Bureau of Justice Assistance. December 9th, 2022. 6.
[x] Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program; Frequently Asked Questions”. Bureau of Justice Assistance. December 2022. 4.