Whenever there is a man caused tragedy a large segment of the population immediately demand that the government does something, most often the something involves taking rights away from individuals that had nothing with the tragedy. That is most often true when the tragedy is a mass shooting. Red Flag Laws are currently the most popular solution proposed by politicians on the political left, the liberal news media, Hollywood, and even President Trump and Senate Republicans including Mitch McConnell
Red Flag Laws are a very bad idea because they violate several constitutional provisions, most especially the Second Amendment. Here is a description of Red Flag Laws and a discussion why they are such a bad idea from this Breitbart article;
“Red flag laws are designed to confiscate a person’s legally held property under the presumption that they may misuse that property in the future. And given that the accusation itself is that the accused has the possibility of doing violence to themselves or others, even the most well-intentioned prosecutor and law enforcement agents will err on the side of denying the rights of the accused due to the fear that the accusation may prove correct – and failure to aggressively enforce the law will be devastating to their personal careers regardless of the credibility of the complaint. The accused is then required to prove that the accusation is wrong with those sitting in judgment facing enormous political pressure to leave confiscation orders in place, destroying the presumption of innocence. What’s more, in today’s Internet age, the accused forever will be tainted by the accusation regardless of outcome.”
The article “7 Reasons to Oppose Red Flag Gun Laws “ contains a wealth of information.
“These laws, also called “extreme risk protection orders,” allow courts to issue orders allowing law enforcement to seize firearms from people who’ve committed no crime but are believed to be a danger to themselves or others.”
The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from seizing the property of any individual unless they are charged with a specific crime and found guilty by a jury in a court of law. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment places the same restrictions on state and local governments.
”Regulating firearms is not among the powers listed in the Constitution (though this has not always stopped lawmakers from regulating them). In fact, the document expressly forbids the federal government from doing so, stating in the Second Amendment that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” “
This is true because the Second Amendment specifically prevents the federal government from interfering with the right to bear arms of any individual therefore Red Flag Laws are unconstitutional on the federal level. All but one or two states have clauses in their Bill of Rights that prevent that state from infringing on the right to bear arms of its citizens.
The Right to bear arms is one of our most important God-given natural rights, one that a great many individuals will defend passionately, especially if it is violated unjustly. Red Flag Laws will lead a large number of violent and deadly clashes with individuals who believe their right to bear arms is being trampled on. This has already happened once.
“In 2018, two Maryland police officers shot and killed 61-year-old Gary Willis in his own house after waking him at 5:17 a.m. The officers, who were not harmed during the shooting, had been ordered to remove guns from his home under the state’s red flag law, which had gone into effect one month prior to the shooting.”
Red Flag Laws are so bad they belong only in dystopian science fiction such as the movie Minority Report. Way too many of the people implementing and enforcing these laws now, and in the future, believe that only police and those in the government should have guns, and those on the political right are the enemy whose statements and positions on issues constitute hate speech.
“There is an understandable desire among Americans to feel safer and more secure following highly publicized mass shootings. Yet the idea that the government can prevent crimes before they happen whiffs of utopianism and could threaten individual liberty”.
President Trump has expressed support for Red Flag Laws. He is very much in error and should quickly reexamine his position on this issue.
“Trump said, “I am directing the Department of Justice to work in partnership with local, state, and federal agencies–as well as social media companies–to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike.” He then referenced the February 14, 2018, Parkland shooter, noting he had sent up many red flags with his behavior prior to the shooting, but no one took action to stop him.”
“Trump voiced support for “Red Flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders.” He explained, “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.” “
Representative Crenshaw of Texas has a proposal for Red Flag Laws that might not violate the Constitution if they are implemented on the state level. Actual threats of violence and statements that an individual is planning to kill others are specific crimes. If those statements are reported to the proper authorities and the person is tried and convicted then due process is not violated
“Crenshaw said, “Clearly, when we said ‘Red Flag Laws’ you guys stop listening, you can’t hear what we are suggesting, because understandably you automatically assume that we are just agreeing with the left’s version of that law. And we all know the left’s version would not be good, it would not protect due process.” “
“Crenshaw continued, “At its heart what we are talking about is the ability to confiscate weapons where there is evidence that violence is about to be committed. It’s that simple, and this isn’t that controversial.” “
“He went on to explain that everything turns on due process and how due process would be protected under the type of Red Flag Laws Crenshaw supports. He suggested the difference between what he supports and the left’s “blatantly unconstitutional laws” all boils down to how due process is protected.