In the debate about red flag laws, we’re told such measures will take guns from people who represent some kind of danger to themselves or others. It’s a wonderful thought as it allows folks to justify stripping people of a constitutionally protected right because it will make the world a better place.
Or so they tell us.
However, the truth is far, far more complicated.
For example, one red flag order in Indiana didn’t appear to do jack squat.
An Albany man faces a murder charge after police say he shot his neighbor over a dispute.
The charge comes after police responded to the 9100 block of North County Road 900 East Tuesday. When they arrived, they found Gary Coply had been shot multiple times and was lying up against his house.
A probable cause affidavit filed in the case against Cy Alley details the person who called 911 said they were taking a walk when they saw Cy Alley shoot Coply multiple times before driving away.
The Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office said police had already seized several firearms from Alley this year. In January, the office filed a petition under the Red Flag Law seeking the seizure and retention of his firearms.
So, they took his guns away from him, and he was still able to allegedly shoot and kill someone?
I mean, we’ve been told that red flag laws prevent precisely this kind of thing from happening, that they take guns from dangerous people, and yet we have this incident.
Of course, Alley is only accused of shooting Coply. Let’s be clear on that. However, it didn’t help that when police arrested Alley, he had a shotgun shell similar to one found at the scene.
And since he had a shell, and it seems he had access to a shotgun, the red flag order doesn’t seem to have done all that much for poor Mr. Coply.
See, there is no one problem with red flag laws. There are a lot of problems with them, and none of them are laws that will be satisfactorily dealt with through legislation – except maybe repealing them, that is. One is that the truly dangerous are still free to be violent against whoever they wish.
The red flag laws take the guns they can find, then leaves this supposedly dangerous person walking the streets.
It seems that in this case, the person whose guns were seized was able to obtain another firearm – assuming the police got all he originally had, of course – and then killed a neighbor over an argument.
And this is the law we’re supposed to trust? This is the law we’re supposed to count on to keep us safe?
Couple this with reports of people using these laws to punish those they have a beef with, those who have been disarmed without any real cause, and at least one death attributed to a red flag order, and it’s not hard to see why red flag laws are so unpopular with gun rights activists.
Look, I get the drive behind these laws. They just don’t work the way proponents say they will, and that’s obvious in this case.