image courtesty of TMZ.com
It’s a weird world we live in when the celebrity gossip platform TMZ does a big story about California’s “red flag” laws. Then again, when the law is potentially going to be used by police against a celebrity, it’s a story that’s right in TMZ’s wheelhouse. And to their credit, they got singer Aaron Carter to open up about the police visits to his home to check on his mental state.
Our law enforcement sources tell us … cops are looking at the law right now and deciding whether they’ll go to court. And, as for the order, a lot depends on nailing down Aaron’s true mental state, which is a difficult proposition because Aaron shares only what he wants to publicly share so it’s hard to paint a complete picture.
According to TMZ, family members have asked police to check on Carter, who’s recently spoken out about becoming a gun owner. Carter also has struggled with drug abuse and mental health over the years, but now says he only smokes marijuana (here’s a bit of free legal advice from a non-attorney, Aaron: if you admit on camera to smoking pot, but say you don’t smoke pot when you fill out your 4473 while purchasing a firearm, you run the risk of facing charges for lying on your background check information).
Let’s leave that little issue aside and focus on the “red flag” aspect of Carter’s story. According to TMZ, police are trying to determine if they’re going to use the law to remove Carter’s firearms. It seems to me that if they police are hemming and hawing about whether or not Carter is a danger to himself or others, they probably don’t have enough evidence to reasonably convince a judge (though it’s entirely possible that a judge would still rubber-stamp their approval of the request). We’re told these red flag laws are only going to be used when there is a clear emergency and time is of the essence. That would not seem to be the case with Mr. Carter here.
I’m not even going to attempt to get into a discussion about Carter’s mental health, because I have no way of knowing, but I will say that if being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder or even schizophrenia is going to be enough to remove someone’s firearms from their possession, gun control advocates are going to set back the cause of mental health by decades. If we want to de-stigmatize mental health treatment (and we do), it doesn’t help to see clickbait headlines like Aaron Carter Brags About Owning 500 Guns Despite Schizophrenia & Addiction.
For those gun control advocates who believe that any sign of mental illness should be cause to lose your 2nd Amendment rights, what about Alyssa Milano? The actress and activist recently opened up to Ted Cruz about being a gun owner, as well as her anxiety, which led to her seeking inpatient help after the birth of her son. Should she lose her 2nd Amendment rights because she sought treatment? I disagree with about 98% of everything I’ve ever heard Milano say, but that doesn’t mean I think she should have her rights stripped of her because she’s been diagnosed with anxiety disorder. In fact I sincerely commend her for talking about getting help and getting well.
I hope Aaron Carter is well, and if not, I hope he gets the help that he needs, but that’s going to involve more than invoking California’s “red flag’ law.