The terrifying thing about red flag laws is that they can result in a person being forcibly disarmed without due process. As Americans, we’re supposed to be protected from losing any of our rights without having our day in court. Sure, after a conviction for a crime, you’re deprived of your rights for a time, but that’s the point.
But when you haven’t been convicted of anything? That’s a problem, and that’s why red flag laws are a serious issue for many in the Second Amendment community.
It seems that for one New York judge, though, there’s no reason to wait for the red flag laws to go into effect before they start taking people’s guns. They can just get started on it now.
A former town judge in New York has been the victim of a personally and politically motivated gun confiscation scheme a full month before the state’s new red flag law is set to take effect, according to the judge’s lawyers at 2AWNY.
Law enforcement in Allegany County seized the firearms belonging to former Town of Allen Justice Bridgette A. Tojek after County Court Judge Thomas P. Brown suspended her license to own a handgun pending an upcoming hearing on July 31.
Tojek’s attorneys at the western New York gun-rights group 2AWNY released a statement arguing that the judge’s actions were prompted by personal and political animus rather than any valid disqualifying behavior.
“They leveraged red flag-style gun confiscation for the purposes of personal retribution,” 2AWNY’s Steve Felano told GunsAmerica. “They dislike her socially and politically, and the fact that she owns guns makes her a target.”
Tojek’s firearms were confiscated after a single member of the Allegany County Board submitted an ex parte affidavit requesting Tojek’s pistol license be suspended. Felano said the board member had a personal grudge against Tojek after the former justice said disparaging things about the board member in public.
An Allegany County Judge, Terrence M. Parker, also claimed that Tojek “continually disparaged me and my family publicly in her Court and in Town meetings.” Judge Parker asked Judge Brown to review Tojek’s pistol permit application because he “would have a predisposition to deny her application.”
There’s a lot of information there at Guns America‘s site. They did a good job reporting on this one.
It seems that Tojek was removed from her post a while back, and that is somehow being used to justify the removal of her firearms. However, there’s a problem with that — a huge one.
You see, Tojek hasn’t been convicted of any crime. She lost a job, but the only thing that should deprive you of is a right to expect a paycheck from them. That’s it.
Of course, this is also part of the problem with requiring a license which has to be renewed so an individual can own firearms. If an official in any capacity has the authority to deny that license, you can be deprived of your Second Amendment rights. In a case like this, your guns can be taken from you, thus making you vulnerable to any number of crimes–and it seems safe to say that Tojek has enemies–all without anything resembling due process.
And while no one is invoking the red flag laws, the above-linked piece notes that such behavior will soon be enshrined in state law. Again, all without due process.
For Tojek, what’s transpiring appears to be personal, and that’s troubling.
For me, though, the problem is that gun licensing opens the door for this kind of thing and we have a presidential candidate advocating for exactly that.