Lee's "red flag" proposal isn't as moderate as some argue

Lee's "red flag" proposal isn't as moderate as some argue
(Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal via AP, Pool)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee wants a special session of the legislature and he really wants them to just pass one measure: His version of a red flag bill.

To be fair, his version tries to address a lot of the due process concerns we see in most states’ laws.


However, there are still significant issues with it, which is why many Tennessee Republicans are opposing their governor’s efforts on this.

For the folks at the New York Times, this is an opportunity to editorialize. After all, when they publish a piece with the headline, “Grieving Governor’s Moderate Gun Proposal Is Spurned by G.O.P. Allies,” it’s hard not to notice.

While the body of this piece doesn’t invoke the word “moderate” to describe the law, it’s clear that the writer and editors still feel Lee’s measure is perfectly reasonable.

It’s not.

See, while Lee’s version of the red flag law may address some concerns about a particular big of gun control, we need to remember that gun control itself is the radical idea here. There is no version of gun control that is really moderate because all of it involves infringing on the rights of ordinary Americans who have done nothing wrong.

With red flag laws, even Lee’s, it’s about stripping the rights from people who haven’t done anything wrong beyond making some people uncomfortable. They’re not accused of threatening anyone. If they had, that would be a crime that could be prosecuted.


They’re not accused of planning an attack or anything. That’s something else that could be prosecuted.

No, they’re just accused of worrying people.

That’s not a crime, and the idea that we should strip rights away from people simply because others are concerned isn’t moderate, no matter where it falls on the due process line.

All gun control seems to be predicated on the idea that the gun is the problem, not the people. It’s the tool, not the tool using it.

Lee’s red flag proposal, like all other red flag proposals, seems to argue that if you take the guns away from a dangerous person, they cease being dangerous. That’s odd in a nation that still remembers the name of Timothy McVeigh.

Yet the media still likes to pretend there’s such a thing as moderate gun control simply because it’s not as radical as some other proposals.

I reject that notion entirely.

If someone were to offer up a proposal to curtail the freedom of the press–say, in the name of misinformation–would one that doesn’t go quite as far cease being a radical notion in the minds of the New York Times?


One would imagine not.

So why should any effort to curtail the right to keep and bear arms be any different? Especially since we have no evidence showing red flag laws do any good.

Gov. Lee is hurting. I get that and didn’t need the New York Times to remind me. More than 11 years after experiencing a similar loss to Lee, I still hurt, so I have no doubt he does.

But his pain doesn’t make a radical proposal–as all gun control proposals are–any different.

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