The killer in the Parkland massacre sent up a lot of red flags. There were problems all along the way, a dozen places where he could have been stopped if the authorities had done their job. But they didn’t and 17 kids died.
As a result, there’s been a push to enact “red flag laws” that will enable authorities to seize firearms of people exhibiting behaviors that the authorities believe may signal someone might commit an atrocity like this.
However, the Gun Owners of America takes some exception to this.
In an emailed statement to Bearing Arms:
GOA Speaks Out Against Gun Confiscation Orders
Springfield, VA – Gun Owners of America (GOA) is rallying against Gun Confiscation Orders, which are fraudulently referred to as “red-flag laws” or “extreme violence protective orders.”
“Gun Confiscation Orders would allow police or angry relatives to convene a secret star-chamber proceeding and get permission to ransack [a gun owner’s] house and seize [his or her] guns without any due process whatsoever,” Michael Hammond, Legislative Counsel for GOA said.
According to Hammond, this measure would fail to keep mass shooters, like the Parkland shooter, from getting firearms.
“School disciplinary officials and police came in contact with [the Parkland shooter] almost a hundred times… Every time, officials found him a ‘low risk,’ which would have meant no Gun Confiscation Order,” Hammond stated. “Bad guys who want to inflict harm will still get around laws imposing Gun Confiscation Orders.”
Hammond also noted the lack of due process for targets of Gun Confiscation Orders. “[L]aw-abiding gun owners will now have to sue in court — spending thousands upon thousands of dollars — to get [their] guns back because they’ve been confiscated without due process.”
Finally, Hammond concluded that these proposals pose a threat legislatively.
“[Gun Confiscation Orders are] probably the single biggest legislative threat to the Second Amendment which is spreading through the country,” Hammond stated.
I agree with Hammond’s assessment. The problem in Parkland wasn’t a lack of laws that would empower law enforcement to act. It was the failure of individuals to act on the laws already on the books.
Among those were reports of the killer physically assaulting his mother. That’s domestic violence and should have permanently barred him from owning a weapon. He wasn’t arrested for it despite the police reportedly being called.
The laws needed to stop this attack were already there. They weren’t followed though, and the “red flag laws” sound far too easily manipulated to disarm law-abiding people who pose no real threat. Such laws need strict criteria for due process if they’re going to respect the rights of the individual.
But then again, we live in a world where people would rather give up liberty in order to attain a little temporary safety. We all know what old Ben Franklin said about that.
That said, I do understand the drive. There’s this visceral reaction to tragedy to look for solutions. Sometimes, they’re so focused on those supposed solutions they don’t look at how they work in reality. Assuming, of course, that they care.
I doubt that’s a safe assumption to make.