The Senate gun bill isn’t what most people want. Gun rights advocates wanted none of what they’re getting, really, while gun control supporters wanted things like a national red flag law. No one is getting any of that.
However, for some, that’s the mark of a good compromise, when no one is really pleased with what results.
Yet there will be those who disagree, myself included. Over at Mother Jones, it seems they disagree as well, but for a completely different reason. For them, it’s because the bill doesn’t make states throw due process out the window.
The 18-year-old gunman who shot and killed 21 people and wounded 17 others at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school last month was, according to his friends and family, a lonely guy who experimented with self-harm, was bullied for a speech impediment, and engaged in physical fights with his peers. He had asked his sister for help buying a gun. And he had posted vague threats on social media: “Kids,” he said on TikTok, “be scared.”
In other words, he presented the exact kind of behaviors that so-called “red flag” laws are intended to catch before a disturbed person engages in gun violence. Such measures, which provide a legal mechanism to seize weapons from people showing signs of mental duress, are at the core of the bipartisan gun control legislation advancing in the US Senate, which would provide states with funding to enact red flag laws and strengthen existing ones. The bill cleared a procedural hurdle Tuesday night with the support of 14 Republican senators; a cloture vote to limit debate on the bill should occur Thursday.
But even if it passes, federal funding for the bill’s most-discussed provision is unlikely to persuade many of the 30 states that don’t have red flag laws—most of them Republican-led—to adopt them. Some of these states have repeatedly voted down red flag legislation; at least one has formally outlawed their implementation. This means the federal gun control bill, aimed at reining in the epidemic of mass shootings, could have limited impact in a large swath of the country.
They even call the red flag law the bill’s “most important measure.”
Why is it that anti-gun types cannot fathom any other possible solution besides focusing on the guns?
Red flag laws come with a lot of problems besides the due process concerns I already mentioned. There’s also the fact that these laws allow guns to be taken, but then leave these potentially dangerous people on the streets where they can find another way to hurt others.
It should be noted that the measure in question doesn’t explicitly limit funding and incentives to red flag laws, either. It allows states to find their own methods, a detail that could encourage states to come up with new and innovative ways to address the problems without necessarily infringing on innocent people’s rights.
For Mother Jones and people like them, it’s either red flag laws or nothing, which is particularly telling about how open they are to solutions.
See, for them, it doesn’t seem to be about keeping people safer. It’s just about the guns.