Red Flag Laws are a Direct Violation of Our American Rights
Members are back on the Hill and Democrats are taking advantage of the tragic shootings to draft and attempt to pass legislation that would erode the Second Amendment. One of those bills will call for federal red flag laws, which would allow the government to confiscate firearms from citizens who haven’t been charged with a felony or been involuntarily committed to a mental facility. Depending on the state, family members, teachers, co-workers and/or law enforcement can petition to the court that a gun owner is unfit to be a gun owner. As former Senator Jim DeMint puts it, abuse of power is inevitable if red flag laws blanket the country.
What’s wrong with people close to a troubled young man being able to warn police and petition courts to take away their guns?
In an ideal world? Nothing. But we don’t live in one of those. In the world we actually inhabit, state-level experiments with “red flag” laws should give all Americans pause before handing over this kind of power to Washington.
First of all, the bedrock of America’s legal system is all citizens’ guarantee to “due process” before the government infringes on any of their legal rights. Red flag laws around the country skirt or even trample due process. Targets of the proposed gun confiscation orders are often unaware that such orders have been issued, or even petitioned. Defendants often are unable to appear at a hearing or cross-examine witnesses.
Second, once granted the power to confiscate firearms from citizens neither charged of a crime nor diagnosed with mental health problems, what is to stop government officials from abusing that power? The Democratic Party’s hard lurch to the left in recent years raises troubling questions about its approach to such questions. On campuses today, it is common to assert that “hate speech” is akin to violence and, on the left, that the mere expression of conservative political ideas constitutes such “hate speech.”
Finally, a study of an Indiana law allowing police to seize firearms from people they considered dangerous found outcomes closely correlated to defendants’ presence at the hearing. This is concerning. It suggests that the upshot of red flag laws may be to disarm not dangerous people, but simply the less privileged — those who cannot afford to take off work or who lack the means to hire good lawyers.
What standard will Democrat-led Justice Departments and, worse, progressive judges, apply? Will pro-life views disqualify citizens from their Second Amendment rights, on the nonsensical but nonetheless frequently asserted grounds that anti-abortion Americans are a threat to women’s health? What about supporters of President Donald Trump, who according to some on the left are all racists and white nationalists?
Don’t be fooled by the politicians who want to “fix” our gun violence problem. We all want to do something about the visceral, cultural problem of gun violence, but red flag laws and other gun control measures are NOT the solution. Members of Congress should really reconsider what they would be taking away from their constituents and should reconsider how they approach gun violence. Giving the government the power to disarm innocent and law-abiding citizens is a violation of our American rights.