Florida's Red Flag Law A Model, But It Shouldn't Be

Florida's Red Flag Law A Model, But It Shouldn't Be

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was a horrific tragedy. That’s something that is beyond debate. You either think it was or you’re a horrible human being.


You don’t have to like those students who emerged from the aftermath to acknowledge that what happened was awful, after all.

In that aftermath, though, the state of Florida reacted. They did what people often do when emotional and didn’t stop to think about what happened. They reacted.

As such, Florida passed a number of anti-gun laws that I suspect many lawmakers now regret. However, it’s now being suggested that at least one of them is a model for other states.

Could Florida have something to teach the country about gun control?

Federal lawmakers are considering a law that would encourage states to implement systems through which courts can remove weapons from people who may be harmful to themselves or others. The state-level measures are called extreme risk protection orders, or red flag laws.

Florida passed a Red Flag Law as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act following the school shooting there in February 2018.

Earlier this week, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw was in Washington, D.C., at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss the new federal legislation and share lessons learned.

And this is the problem with knee-jerk legislation.

The law passed at a time of heightened emotions, not good judgment, and now it’s being used to try and ram through similar measures throughout the nation.

However, as was noted yesterday at Bearing Arms, there are serious problems with these red flag laws. In particular, the lack of any due process or penalties for the laws being used maliciously.

Additionally, the National Rifle Association has made any support for red flag laws contingent on things like penalties and due process protection as well as mental health treatment, among other things. Frankly, this should be a no-brainer for anti-gunners, right? Yet that’s missing.


The reason is the knee-jerk nation of Florida’s law and how it’s influencing other laws throughout the nation.

In truth, most red flag laws being passed mimic Florida’s to a fairly high degree. They’re all but copying and pasting the Florida bill. This is a problem because Florida’s was driven by emotion and pain, not sound legislative policy and reasoned debate.

Then again, anti-gunners tend not to like reasoned debate. Why else is so much of their rhetoric emotionally driven? The only logical answer is that they don’t want reason or thinking to play into things because that way works against them.

Honestly, none of this is surprising. This is just what I’ve come to suspect from this crowd.

Florida is coming to regret it’s hasty passage of things like red flag laws, and not just because of electoral consequences that could have come up–luckily for them, the GOP still has firm control of the state–but because of stuff like this. Now, they’re stuck with them, and it’s a lot easier to pass a law like that than to roll it back.

For gun grabbers, that’s a feature, not a bug.

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