AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
When you think of violent hellholes in this country, you think of places like Chicago, Baltimore, Saint Louis, among others. You don’t tend to think about Maine.
There’s a reason for that. Maine is one of the safest states in the country.
However, that’s not going to stop them from at least considering a red flag law.
Maine is one of the safest states in the country, but gun control advocates say several recent killings and suicides show the need for Maine to take steps to reduce gun violence. In particular, they say there needs to be a way to take guns away from certain dangerous people.
The idea, outlined in a bill sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth), is called a ‘red flag’ law. These laws exist in several other states, and on Tuesday, two gun control groups joined Millett to announce a proposed ‘red flag’ bill for Maine.
The law would allow family members or police to ask for a court hearing for someone considered to pose an ‘extreme threat’ because of mental illness or other reasons. The court could order police to temporarily take the person’s guns away for 14 days, though there is a provision to allow guns to be held for a year with court approval. The subject of the hearing could have an attorney provided by the start, if needed.
Supporters of the bill say it’s a reasonable safety precaution that could prevent suicides and some other shootings.
“We can and must do more to prevent firearm related deaths,” said Sen. Millett. “In Maine, we have a strong tradition of responsible gun ownership — I respect that. This bill is not about the large majority of responsible gun owners. It’s about individuals in crisis.”
And about anyone who pisses a family member off.
The problem with these laws is the lack of due process protections. If someone is mentally disturbed, then it might make some sense to figure out some form of intervention, at least in the short term. However, with the complete lack of due process protections in every one of these bills to date, any family member with an ax to grind can “punish” the gun owner by having his firearms taken away.
However, Maine even considering this tells us one very important thing. It reminds us that while anti-gunners claim it’s about safety, it’s not. It’ll never be safe enough for them to leave our guns alone.
If they ever manage to disarm us, they’ll follow England’s lead and start restricting knives next. They’ll almost have to, at least in their mind. After all, it’s not like crime will dissipate just because they want it to really hard. That’s not how it works.
Maine doesn’t need more gun control. They don’t need a law like this to make them a safe place to live.
The people supporting it don’t need it, they want it. That’s an important distinction. It’s one they’ll likely deny as well. But if they’re already a safe state, then this bill wouldn’t do much of anything even if it worked precisely as advertised.