Red flag laws are often framed as simply stepping in and temporarily taking guns away from dangerous people. However, that’s the wrong way to frame them. Instead, they’re laws that infringe on the individual liberties of ordinary Americans who haven’t done anything wrong, simply because someone thinks they might.
Now, in New Hampshire, their new red flag law is one step closer to passage after a lawmaker who lacked facts went with emotion instead.
After one of its own members spoke emotionally about coping with a suicide in his family, the state Senate on Monday approved legislation to allow a judge to temporarily confiscate guns.
Speaking for the so-called red flag bill (HB 687), state Sen. Jon Morgan, D-Brentwood, said his aunt and uncle, in separate incidents years apart, shot themselves and died in Manchester.
Morgan said his Uncle Bob had found his sister shot to death. Morgan recalled being directed years later by his grandmother to come and see Bob’s lifeless body after he shot himself in the throat.
Just hours before he spoke Monday, Morgan said he learned that his grandmother had died.
“For 45 and a half years, my grandmother carried around that agony and pain that no parent should ever have to bear,” he said.
That’s awful, to be sure, but taking away Uncle Bob’s gun wouldn’t have necessarily kept him safe. Guns aren’t the only way to commit suicide, after all.
Proponents of these measures often argue that guns are the most effective, meaning that fewer people actually survive the attempt than with other means of suicide. That’s probably true.
That doesn’t mean other methods are ineffective, though. After all, those methods of suicide claim plenty of lives as well
It’s beyond stupid to focus on the tools of suicide and not the root cause. Suicide is a mental health issue, not a gun issue, and should be treated as such.
Further, red flag laws have other problems as well.
But Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, said based on as little as a single accusation the measure would turn due process on its head and violate a person’s Second Amendment rights.
“The person has to be proven to be guilty in a court of a law but all it is taking (here) is the word of one person against an individual in order to get these petitions. That is not fair,” Carson said. “This legislation says you are guilty before you can be proven innocent; that’s wrong.”
Not only that, but there’s already a way to address this problem written into state law. After all, New Hampshire has an involuntary admission law on the books. Why not make use of that and leave the guns alone?
After all, someone who has been admitted not only won’t have access to firearms, their access to any other method of suicide is seriously curtailed as well. It’s a huge win. Only, it’s not good enough for these folks, now is it?
That’s because it’s not about suicide. It’s about guns and nothing else.
Luckily, there isn’t a huge chance of Gov. Chris Sununu signing this into law. That’s the upside. The downside is that they’ll keep trying this crap over and over again until someone does sign it.