“There’s no doubt that this law has saved lives,” said a law enforcement legal expert in Maryland, one of 17 U.S. states that have passed red flag gun legislation. These new laws allow all sorts of people – police, health care professionals, friends, and family – to narc on someone they decide is a severe threat.
Red flag laws follow in the wake of so many mass shootings that former President Obama said the public had become “numb” to gun violence. Gun control advocates cite the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, as more evidence that the police just aren’t equipped to handle the problem without public participation identifying the mentally unstable.
The initiating party, often a relative, petitions the court and presents their concerns to a judge who can grant local police the authority to appropriate the weapons. The family can ask the judge not to notify the person flagged that someone they know is trying to have the police take away their guns, by force, if necessary.
The weapons confiscation is immediate but temporary.
Rules vary by state. A judge must approve the legal weapons seizure order before police visit the flagged individual to take away their firearms for one year. In Maryland, the order can be extended for six more months if the court finds good cause after an additional hearing.
While, on the surface, red flag laws may sound like a reasonable way to reduce mass shootings and other armed crimes, these new rules trespass on American’s rights to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. Furthermore, many students of history are bound to see similarities between this precedent of legally seizing guns from people accused of -but not proven to be – mentally imbalanced and Hitlerian Germany.
“First they take your guns, then they take your freedoms, your rights, and then they KILL YOU,” reminds marky who also makes the very good point that, with guns, we are “citizens” but without them, we are mere “subjects.”
With guns, we are “citizens”. Without them, we are “subjects”.
The Japanese didn’t invade the continental United States during WWII because they knew most Americans exercised their right to keep and bear arms.
But now, after more violent shootings in Ohio and Texas, gun control advocates are pushing harder than ever to take guns away from people, despite federal protections. Their solution is to issue extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) to justify violating the 2nd Amendment.
The anti-gun effort is bi-partisan. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote legislation proclaiming federal support (money) for states that pass red flag laws. This is bribery, of course, and shows no sign of slacking.
To the contrary, President Trump endorsed ERPOs on August 5, 2019:
“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”
The problem is that, as with many quick-fix solutions to complex problems, there are harmful side effects that aren’t getting much press.
“Red flag laws are presented as a common-sense proposal to disarm people who allegedly present a danger to themselves or others around them,” wrote one Patriot named José Niño. But the truth is that these laws are signaling red flags in the minds of many pro-gun civil rights supporters.
The American legal system was never designed to allow an accuser to get a court action without charging that a crime had been committed. Red flag laws let any anti-gun person show up in court to recommend taking away the weapons of someone else, whether or not that person had a history of criminal activity or charges. Americans’ right to due process has been reversed as gun owners are presumed guilty (rather than innocent, as required by U.S. law) and be proven so before a punitive action may be served.
The fact that the ERPOs may be extended after an initial time period is troubling. One six-month extension an easily be amended legally to turn into two, three or more – perhaps even indefinitely.
Finally, while we normally applaud bipartisan support of anything, red flag laws are an exception to the rule. This train will be very hard to stop.