Vermont Shooting Not Because Of Weak Red Flag Laws

Photo Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

Red flag laws are popular with a lot of the usual suspects, and for understandable reasons. The idea that you can take guns away from dangerous people sounds pretty tempting. After all, if we’re seeing red flags, maybe someone should do something, right?

That’s the question some in Vermont are asking right now after a man shot and killed his own daughter recently.

The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday said a 38-year-old Newbury woman died from shotgun wounds to the head and torso, and that her death is a homicide, according to a news release from Vermont State Police.

Gun-safety advocates said the death of Karina Rheaume, who was allegedly shot by her father after she went to check on him and bring him food on Monday afternoon, was further evidence that Vermont’s gun laws need to be strengthened, especially in regard to keeping guns out of the hands of people who may be behaving erratically.

“Other countries have mental health problems but not firearm deaths,” said Woodstock resident Bob Williamson, a board member for GunSense Vermont. “In order to address firearm suicides and tragedies, we need to deal with the means.”

No, but they have deaths from other sources just the same. In fact, Japan has a much higher suicide rate than the U.S. and virtually no private ownership of firearms. In fact, there are 33 countries with a higher suicide rate than the United States. All of them have much more strict gun control policies than the U.S.

See, when you focus on a tool, you get tunnel vision. You don’t see the whole picture. You don’t think in terms of “suicide,” only “gun suicide.”

As such, you only see taking away the gun as the solution.

Vermont is one of 19 states — which do not include New Hampshire — that has Emergency Risk Protection Order laws, or “red flag laws.” Such laws allow prosecutors to petition a court to issue a protection order barring a person from having or obtaining a firearm if they are deemed a risk.

“It seems to me this would be the textbook case for why we need strong (red flag) laws,” Williamson said, pointing to the Newbury case. He argued that families, rather than just the Attorney General and other prosecutors, should be able to petition for such orders in Vermont, like they can in other states.

“Vermont’s gun problem is in large number domestic violence and suicides,” he said.

Except, no one used the red flag law. Nor did they use any of the other laws that would have allowed them to have this man declared incompetent, thus taking away his ability to have guns, something the families can do. Every state in the union has a civil commitment law, including Vermont, but the gun control activists aren’t talking about the need to beef up that law for some reason.

At every level, this is a complete and total failure by those involved that doesn’t require more legislation. Not more red flag laws, not more background checks, nothing.

Yet leave it to the gun grabbers to use the failure of the laws they pushed for to push for still more gun control laws. It’s like they never take a step back and ask whether anything they’re doing is actually working.

Then again, if they were capable of critical examination, they wouldn’t be pushing for gun control in the first place.