Why Red Flag Laws Should Raise Red Flags

Why Red Flag Laws Should Raise Red Flags

Why Red Flag Laws Should Raise Red Flags

Red Flag gun laws have been passed in seventeen states and demonstrate a serious disregard for probable cause and due process. These laws allow authorities to seize guns from individuals based on as little as a complaint from a girlfriend or household member. An accusation of cruelty to animals might also trigger such a request.

These laws allow for the confiscation of arms based on an accusation or an arbitrary decision of a local judge. Accusers do not report an illegal behavior but a possible one. Red Flag laws allow a third party to make a subjective determination about whether the owner represents a threat. They clearly demonstrate a lack of objectivity and the absence of due process afforded to any defendant.

The ownership of guns is guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that reads, “[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” America’s gun culture comes from its colonial history, Revolutionary roots and the expansion of its frontiers.

The ongoing debate centers on the proper interpretation of the Second Amendment. It is fueled by the highly visible mass shootings and media hype.

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Proponents for more gun control laws state that the Second Amendment was intended for militias; fewer guns mean fewer crimes; restrictions of guns have always existed and that the majority of Americans, including gun owners, support new gun restrictions.

Rand Corporation produced a most comprehensive study on the effects of gun control laws in America. In an article titled “Facts About the Effects of Gun Policies Are Elusive but Important,” the research group concluded that “four of the outcomes we studied—defensive gun use, hunting and recreation, mass shootings, and officer-involved shootings—we found inconclusive evidence, at best, on the effects of any of the policies.”1

Opponents state that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns, especially as required for self-defense. They claim gun ownership deters crime rather than causing it. Police cannot prevent crime but merely react to it.

Here are several facts largely ignored by gun control advocates and the media.

  1. There has never been any reduction in gun crime because of gun-control laws.
  2. Mass shootings are not the cause of increased death by guns, suicides are.
  3. There is no evidence that gun ownership correlates to increased rates of violence.
  4. Crime rates in general have steadily dropped since the 1990s, and with them gun crimes. The highest number of gun deaths was just under 40,000 in 1968 with suicide accounting for sixty percent.
  5. A predictable group of people commits murder with guns.
  6. There are a few significant elements that determine the chance a person would be shot.
  7. The most common use of legally owned guns is self-defense.
  8. Because lawful gun owners use weapons lawfully, the ease to obtain a conceal carry permit is conducive to law and order.

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The Red Flag laws build upon myths about guns, not the facts. They introduce the attractive idea of keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. However, such notions do not reflect the reality as perceived by law enforcement personnel and gun owners on the ground.

Of the seventeen states with Red Flag laws, Virginia and now New Mexico have passed them resulting in a dramatic push back from sheriffs’ departments and law-abiding citizens.

When Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) introduced Red Flag laws, he encountered resistance. 91 of the Commonwealth’s 96 counties have declared themselves sanctuary counties where local law enforcement will not enforce those parts of the laws deemed unjust and unreasonable.

The governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), recently announced that Democrats in the State Legislature would be introducing a Red Flag law under the guise of reducing crime. The Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) states that household members, a law enforcement officer or a petitioner can file a form with the court stating that someone is an imminent risk or a potential danger and the person’s firearms should be taken away.

New Mexico Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace, stated that “29 out of the 33 New Mexico sheriffs agree that the rush to react to violent crime and atrocities perpetrated by disturbed and/or violent offenders by proposing controls on law-abiding citizens’ guns is ill conceived and is truly a distraction to the real problems proliferating violence in our counties and in our state.”2

When politicians focus efforts on curtailing the rights of legal gun owners, they only empower violent criminals, who do not follow the law.

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All citizens are entitled to the due process of law before any level of government. A Red Flag law tramples upon due process. An individual targeted for a gun confiscation order may be unaware of the petition. Furthermore, a defendant may not be able to appear at the hearing or have the opportunity to cross-examine or face an accuser or call witnesses.

This is a blatant violation of basic procedural rights in American law. It can also provoke unintended tragic outcomes should police arrive unannounced to confiscate guns from individuals who might react badly since they have committed no crime. Many fear that the law might lead to abuse of power targeting political or personal enemies.

No one wants to address the root of the problem for the violence and killing, which is the moral crisis in society. When people abandon the sanity in life, sound principles and morals, the result with be the insanity and chaos of the present society. The only solution is a return to a moral way of life. Will anyone raise a red flag for this?

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Footnotes

  1. Emphasis ed. https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy.html
  2. https://www.cnsnews.com/article/national/michael-w-chapman/sheriffs-association-we-swore-uphold-right-bear-arms-our

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