Nebraska Red Flag Bill Advances Out Of Committee

There are a lot of places you don’t think about when it comes to gun control. They’re just not the kind of states you expect to see advancing any kind of gun-grabbing measure.

One of those states is generally Nebraska. A rural state that is known more for corn than gang violence, it’s just not the kind of thing you expect to see out of the state.

However, you might want to recalibrate that thinking just a bit.

Nebraska lawmakers appear headed for debate over a “red-flag” bill that would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from people suspected of being dangerous.

The controversial approach to gun violence advanced from the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday on a 5-2 vote, with one senator abstaining.

State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, who introduced Legislative Bill 58, said he is “seriously considering” naming the proposal his priority for the year. Having priority status generally guarantees that a bill will be scheduled for debate.

Under the bill, a family member, household member, school superintendent or law enforcement official could petition a judge to have firearms removed from a person if that a person poses a “significant risk” of harm to themselves or others.

The measure is aimed at preventing gun suicides or violence against others. During a hearing last year, Morfeld said the act would provide a “timeout” during which a person could seek help or cool off.

That would be fine if there were any evidence that such bills actually served that purpose. They don’t.

Instead, they infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans and provide an outlet for angry family members to “punish” loved ones for holding the wrong political opinions. We’ve already seen at least one case where we know for a fact a red flag order was filed for maliciously. How many others did we not hear about?

Of course, just because it made it out of committee doesn’t mean that it’ll pass. Yes, it looks like there’s a high likelihood that it will be debated, but that’s not a bad thing. Most people who say they support red flag laws apparently don’t actually understand just how easy it is to file for one. Nor do they understand all the ramifications of such filings. There’s been at least one person killed when officers served a red flag order in the wee hours of the morning.

How many more need to join him?

Look, as Cam pointed out when he wrote about Susan Holmes in Colorado–a woman who claimed she had a baby with the police officer who shot and killed her son, just so she could file a red flag order against him–much of this is because the mental health system in this country is shot and lawmakers need to be seen to “do something,” even if it’s the wrong thing. Believe me, red flag laws are very much the wrong thing.

Sure, in the aftermath of a shooting, they look like a good idea. I thought they were a good idea for about five minutes myself. But they’re not. They’re a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that doesn’t actually look at the problem itself.

Hopefully, Nebraska lawmakers will reject this bill. Then they can spend their time looking at actual solutions to problems instead of this stupidity.