Red flag laws are all the rage right now, and I get it. If we want to stop mass shootings from happening, the idea of taking guns away from people–even doing it temporarily–who might be about to blow has something of an allure. After all, if we get their guns then they can’t shoot people, right?
But the problem is that there are a lot of people who completely freak out about guns and are likely to overreact to the mere existence of a firearm.
Take this Facebook account (language warning):
Now, we only have Mr. Whitman’s word for this, but I see no reason to doubt it. What he’s describing sounds plausible enough.
An unhinged family member saw a firearm in the profile, took it completely wrong, and could well have created a situation. After all, we have one person dead after police tried to confiscate their guns due to a red flag order. To call such a situation tense is an understatement.
And this was someone who was off their rocker but, apparently, well-meaning.
What happens when less than well-meaning individuals start using red flag laws to punish people they don’t like. There’s been at least some talk that the Maryland case stemmed from a political disagreement with a family member, though I haven’t seen that confirmed. Again, though, it sounds plausible.
How many of us have been called various synonyms for unhinged simply because we have guns and aren’t interested in giving them up for some nebulous “public good?”
Now, how many of us could well have had those guns confiscated because someone convinced a judge we were a threat, despite little evidence that we were?
One of my biggest concerns with these laws has been that with too low of a burden of proof–and that’s what these laws tend to have–then they can be weaponized easily and potentially be used to disarm victims. File a red flag order, disarm the target, then roll in and murder someone. It’s not that hard to imagine.
I don’t think it’ll be common, but I do think it’ll happen.
I also believe we’ll see people disarmed by well-meaning but ignorant family members who get murdered by someone else because they didn’t have the means to defend themselves.
Before any law is considered that would ultimately deprive someone of their rights, there should be a high burden placed on demonstrating this person is a risk. It can’t be a simple thing, something that one person can make a few phone calls and then POOF! It’s done and someone loses their Second Amendment rights for a time.
Couple that with the inevitability that someone will eventually try to find a way to use these orders to deprive someone of their Second Amendment rights permanently, and every American should be damned terrified of where this will lead.
The right to keep and bear arms is a sacred right, one protected and enshrined in our Second Amendment. There’s no equivocation that we have the right to keep and bear arms, unless Aunt Ida is a little concerned because we had a gun on Facebook.
That’s something lawmakers need to keep in mind.