Why This Parkland Dad Is Opposed To A Federal Red Flag Law

Have you heard about HR 2377? The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Act of 2021 hasn’t reached the floor of the House of Representatives yet, but the red flag gun seizure legislation introduced by Georgia Democrat Lucy McBath was marked up in the House Judiciary Committee in late October, and with more than 100 co-sponsors it’s one of the few gun control bills in Congress that may actually have a chance of getting a full vote in the House in coming months.

On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, we’re joined by my friend Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Ryan has been a guest on the show on several occasions, and I always appreciate his thoughtful takes on 2A topics, but this was one of our most interesting conversations yet.

See, Ryan and I have a little different opinion about red flag laws. I’m opposed to them in theory, while Petty believes that they can be of some utility as long as there are proper safeguards in place to ensure things like due process protections and mental health treatment for those who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others. The proposed federal red flag law, however, lacks many of the safeguards that Petty believes are necessary.

Specifically, Petty believes McBath’s bill makes it too easy to subject someone to a false accusation, with almost no consequences for doing so. Petty says that red flag laws should be limited to use by law enforcement in order to reduce the chances that an irate family member, spouse or significant other would try to red flag someone out of a desire for retribution, but the language of HR 2377 allows for parents, spouses, siblings, children, step-children, adopted children, dating partners, partners of children together, roommates, domestic partners, anyone with a legal parent-child relationship with the subject of the petition, and anyone who is acting or has acted as a legal guardian of the subject of the petition.