More on Red Flag Laws

Red Flag Gun Control Laws – Chapter 2

We here at the USGOA are taking on a team project of sorts as we address the Red Flag Gun Laws that are so BIG in the news right now.

As this begins the posts published have been submitted by Admins and Moderators and are OPINION pieces, their opinions, and as such, may or may not represent the entire staff or membership OF the USGOA.

This article is written by Tex Reynolds, another personal and longtime friend, a very knowledgeable gun hand, a retired Law Officer and one of our Admins.

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Laws that permit police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves, have come to be called Red Flag Laws. Their purpose is supposed to be to prevent violence before it happens.

As of February 2018, five states have passed laws allowing for the seizure of weapons before a crime has occurred. These laws allegedly temporarily remove firearms from citizens making everyone safer. The laws obviously are all worded a bit differently and require varying levels of procedures.

Many advocates of such laws have described them as a new frontier.

Actually, the idea has been around since 1956 in a science fiction story, later made into a movie, The Minority Report.

The idea of thought police is nothing new. The elite have long desired to have total control over the populace. Our Founding Fathers recognized this and gave us the 4th Amendment to prevent this from occurring. They said, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Advocates of Red Flag Laws claim that their laws don’t violate the 4th Amendment because the laws require a warrant, yet the current laws do not allow for the accused to rebut the argument, they eliminate due process beforehand, they do not allow the accused to face their accusers and in fact actually require the accused to prove that they are innocent. Our system of laws is based upon innocent until proven guilty and Red Flag Laws trample all over this tenet of our legal system.

These laws are not about people who can be proved to have committed crimes of violence, or can be proved to have threatened to commit such acts; we have laws already on the books for these actual crimes. Red Flag Laws take it several steps further and punish citizens for what they someone thinks they might do.

Advocates for Red Flag Laws couch their support for this in nice language that basically says the government can take away your rights at any time without due process. Of course first the Government must determine that the accused owns guns, and down the road they will need to know that so everyone must register their weapons. That’s the next proposal to the Red Flag Laws.

Do we want unstable people in control of weapons? Of course not! But can we trust people not to lie to the police, to judges, etc.

How do we balance the accused rights against the safety of the community?

How about the way our Founding Fathers laid it out? With “Due Process”!

If a person is a threat to themselves or others, arrest them based on a warrant or detain them for a 72 hour mental hold.

Take the weapons into protective custody, place a time limit on length of time the weapons can be held and make this time limit extremely short. If accusations cannot be substantiated within a set period of time not to exceed 30 days the weapons must be returned to the owner immediately and at no cost with no delaying legal procedures and all records that identify the firearms must be expunged.

Law Enforcement needs a procedure to immediately confiscate weapons from a high risk situation without retribution. But the clock starts on the expeditious return of those weapons at that time.

Red Flag Law advocates use all kinds of statistics to prove their case but deep drilling shows most of the statistics don’t help their argument. Duke University researchers looked at the application of Connecticut’s Red Flag Law between 1999 and 2013, they found that police served 762 so-called “risk warrants” during that period and estimated that “a gun suicide was prevented for every 10 to 20 seizures.”

So, in 14 years Connecticut’s red flag law prevented between 38 and 76 suicides (?), but wait, 21 of those people went on and committed suicide but only six used firearms. So in depriving 762 citizens of their Constitutional Rights over a 14 year period gun violence statistics in the state were reduced by at most 61. That’s four per year. I looked to see why there was such a wide disparity in the figures and I could find no data. It appears that if record keeping is not an accurate science. Basically all their statistics proved is that the end result of their Red Flag Laws delayed six suicides by firearms. Twenty-one people were identified as a threat to themselves and yet Government couldn’t prevent them from killing themselves.

The government cannot legislate common sense. The government cannot legislate mental health. We cannot let government continue to chip away at our inalienable rights and expect our Republic to survive!

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