Red flag laws are all the rage right now, and I can understand why. Outside of gun owners, few people see the downside of a law that lets you take guns from those who may go on a violent rampage. After all, they figure, if it saves lives, isn’t it worth it?
However, there’s a lot of debate about whether red flag laws work or not.
In fact, one local news report on a gun control rally opted to question the narrative.
In the wake of two mass shootings, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a rally Sunday afternoon in support of gun control measures.
“Common sense gun legislation, some regulation can sit alongside the second amendment because we know some regulation will save lives,” Sheryl Miller, state chapter lead for North Dakota, said.
Those in attendance are supporting universal background checks and red flag laws
These laws allow courts through due process to temporarily take guns away from people ruled as dangerous or mentally unfit. But, do these laws work?
In a report published last year by the Federal Commission on School Safety, a group that was started after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos said these laws lower suicide rates.
Two studies, one published in “Psychiatric Services” and the other by researchers at Duke University, stated red flag laws keep guns away from suicidal people. They used numbers from Indiana and Connecticut, which were one of the first states to adopt the laws.
Yet, all three noted that there doesn’t appear to be any peer-review research showing whether these laws can prevent mass shootings like what happened in Dayton and El Paso.
Now, if red flag laws were being touted primarily as a suicide prevention policy, that’s one thing. I’d still oppose them, but at least I’d be more likely to see it as a good-faith effort to stop people from killing themselves rather than the cynical attempt at gun control it really is.
As these studies note, there’s zero evidence to suggest they stop anything.
While mass shooters may make concerning comments on social media, it’s not universally true that those who make such comments commit mass shootings. As such, those warning signs are easy to miss.
Additionally, mass shooters can be stopped without red flag laws. Last weekend, several potential mass shooters were stopped without a single red flag law coming into play. That’s because planning a mass shooting is already illegal. They can arrest people for that kind of thing all on its own. They don’t need red flag laws to do it.
Since such laws don’t do much of anything to stop mass shootings anyway, there’s no reason to continue the discussion, now is there?
Of course, we’ll have to. We’ll have to because the same people who call others “science deniers” will, without a doubt, deny these studies have any validity and continue their war on guns.
And when people die because of red flag laws? They’ll shrug. After all, to them, we’re not real people.