Updated: Aug 8, 2019
While addressing the nation on the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton President Trump made the following comment: "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."
A “red flag” law is defined as a gun violence “prevention” law that allows law enforcement or some family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who exhibits some form of “danger” indicators that supposedly justify such restrictions.
While it is gaining bi-partisan support, these "red flag" laws, have the potential to violate our rights as citizens in a free country. Supporters believe that it will save lives, preventing tragedies before they occur. They are being sold as a common sense solution to prevent people who could be a danger to themselves and others of disarming them before any act of violence occurs.
To what extent do they have the possibility of violating rights. First, who decides who is dangerous? If you look at social media posts, and the mounting threats against conservatives only to be dismissed as "Not going against our community standards", comparing them to being suspended for disagreeing with liberals and being suspended for posting factual articles, one would think that conservatives are a "danger" to society. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the activist group ACT is considered to be a danger, along with the members of ACT. Even Marsha Blackburn and Ted Cruz have been labeled as supremacist, nativist and anti-LGBT on their hate list. Imagine the Southern Poverty Law Center being the focus for removing fire arms based upon their philosophies.
In 2018, Ted Patterson wrote an interesting article pointing out the problems with gun confiscating bills. First point he makes is the lack of due process. People could use the loose parameters for revenge towards a former spouse, boy friend, girlfriend, employer etc... Where friends, family, or acquaintances can make an accusation about anything depending upon how vindictive they are feeling at that time, these accusations can be taken to court, and despite not having a criminal record of any kind, it is up to the person being accused to prove to a judge they are not a threat to others or themselves to retain their 2nd Amendment rights. It assumes guilt and the proof of innocence puts the burdened on the accused.
The length of time for confiscation can go on for months. The government confiscation of a gun can become costly under the legal system in order to have their constitutional rights restored. Having to attend court several times interrupting work or family schedules.
Despite the violation of the 2nd and 4th Amendment rights, "red flag" laws offer a terrifying scenario where they can be used to detain people deemed as dangerous depriving them of their right to freedom. It would take the stroke of a pen from someone who could possibly take the oval office to detain people indefinitely any individual who is reported under the proposed law.
While "red flag" is currently being used as a gun confiscation law, it has the potential to imprison political prisoners who may possibly not even own a fire arm, but under the guise of being a threat.
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