Red flag law likely still a no-go in Missouri

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The shooting last week at a St. Louis high school has many in the state up in arms. They want something done in the state of Missouri and they want it done now.

One candidate for that “something” is a red flag law. Those are popular in the wake of mass shootings and attempted mass shootings.

However, that’s not likely to happen in the Show Me State.

Republicans who control state government say they see no need to enact public safety laws that might have taken away the gun used by a school shooter in St. Louis last Monday.

From Gov. Mike Parson at the top of state government down to rank-and-file lawmakers in the House and Senate, red flag laws, also known as “extreme risk” laws, are a non-starter for the GOP, despite support for them in Congress and in other states.

Take Republican Rep. Richard West of New Melle as an example:

“I doubt very seriously any red flag laws will come through the House,” said West, who is a former police officer. “I think we have enough gun laws in place and we have a lot of other pressing issues.”

Likewise, Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-O’Fallon, said, “I have no interest in that.”

And, Rep. Jeff Knight, R-Lebanon, said, “You’ve got people on such far ends of the gun issue I doubt that there would be any way to come to the middle.”

Red flag laws, which are in place in 19 states, are designed to keep firearms away from people who may pose a threat to themselves or others.

And even if there was political will to pass such a law, it’s unlikely such a law would have prevented what happened in St. Louis.

You see, based on what we know, a red flag law wouldn’t have done anything.

The killer’s parents had his gun removed from the home, much like how a red flag law would have. He still obtained the same gun despite their efforts. Had it been removed due to a red flag order, what would have happened is he would have simply stolen someone else’s firearm.

He was determined to get a gun, so he did.

No red flag law will surmount something like that.

And even if it did, there are other problems with red flag laws that routinely get ignored. For example, let’s say they took the gun from this kid and he had no way to get another. Does that suddenly make him safe for society? Someone who is that determined to murder innocent people isn’t likely to be thwarted simply because you take a gun away.

I mean, you can kill a lot of people with a car.

Red flag laws remove a tool a mass killer could use, but it doesn’t remove the potential killer. There’s nothing at all about trying to keep them from doing anything other than shooting people. Turning innocent people into speedbumps is totally acceptable, just so long as they’re not shot.

Brilliant.

Then there are the due process concerns, the fact that people’s rights are violated before a judge ever lays eyes on them or sees any real evidence besides someone’s concern.

So yeah, there are issues with these laws, but the media in Missouri doesn’t want to hear any of those.