Testimony Heard Over Maine's Red Flag Bill Proposal

AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Red flag bills seem to be all the rage among the anti-gun crowd. It’s not difficult to see why, either. They’re arguing that it’s not really gun confiscation, after all. They’re just temporarily taking the guns of people who may be a threat to themselves or others. That’s something that most people can get behind, especially when they don’t understand the problems.

In Maine, they’re debating such a bill now. On Monday, state lawmakers heard testimony from both sides of the debate.

Lawmakers heard a full day of emotional, often conflicting testimony Monday on a controversial bill that would allow police to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others.

To supporters, the bill is a common-sense measure that would allow family members or police to intervene before someone uses a gun to commit suicide or turns it on someone else, all while protecting the dangerous person’s legal rights.

“L.D. 1312 provides a tool to help law enforcement officers protect our loved ones from deadly tragedies,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth. “I have heard from law enforcement officials from across the state who say the tools we have in place right now just aren’t enough.”

But opponents portrayed the bill as an unconstitutional gun grab that could put police officers at risk without any mandatory follow-up evaluation or counseling to help individuals deal deal with their underlying issues.

“This law is a distraction,” said Dr. Art Dingley, a Farmington psychiatrist. “It’s a shiny object which diverts our attention from the true mission, and the true mission is to address the root causes of despair and violence.”

I agree with Dr. Dingley completely.

There’s absolutely no effort being put in by Democrats to discuss the root causes of violence in our society. Their sole fix seems to be to attack people’s civil liberties, namely gun rights. I’d say it’s a misguided attempt to mitigate crime, but I’m finding it harder and harder to believe that they’re misguided and not malicious.

The idea of red flag laws sounds good. Taking away guns from people who may have serious problems and be a threat to others? It sounds very good.

But when we look at the nuts and bolts, what we see are major problems with these bills. Almost universally, they offer little to no due process protection for the individual. They rarely include any punishment for people who use the bill maliciously–after all, telling a judge that person is a threat in some way, thus leading to them be disarmed, is a hell of a way to punish someone for thinking wrongly, isn’t it?

These bills are problematic for a number of reasons.

Yet these aren’t difficult fixes. Why aren’t the Democrats who propose these bills making the fixes so more pro-gun people would at least be willing to discuss backing them? My guess is that they don’t care what we have to say on the topic.

Nevermind that such laws may encourage some to not talk about what they’re going through, thus leading to more suicides or violent outbursts. I suspect the Democrats don’t care about that because the more of that which happens, the more they can justify their draconian push to limit gun ownership.

It’s hard to not reach for the tinfoil these days, you know?