Kentucky Republican Offers Red Flag-Like Bill

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File

The state of Kentucky is a pretty red state, all things considered. Sure, the governor is a Democrat, but Republicans control most other statewide offices as well as both chambers of the legislature. So if gun control were to ever happen in the state, at least as things stand, Republicans have to be behind it.


And one has offered a red flag-like bill that is apparently intended to address some of the concerns over red flag laws.

Kentucky Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Fruit Hill, on Friday presented to lawmakers two versions of a proposed law that would at least temporarily remove a gun from someone if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others.

The proposals were passionately backed by victims of gun violence, some legislators and even the chief of the Jeffersontown Police Department.

But Kentucky has a Republican-dominated legislature with many citizens and officials who stand firm in their objections to any laws they see as threatening the 2nd Amendment and any violation of gun rights.

One legislator even pointed out that Friday is the 232nd birthday of the 2nd Amendment being ratified.

“Gun control is not and has never been the answer,” said Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge. “You’re talking about a proposal that, at a bare minimum, has the potential to violate at least three constitutional rights in addition to due process and the presumption of innocence.”

One would be for someone to initially notify police of a person who is a perceived danger to themselves or others. A police officer would then contact that individual and give them the option of keeping their gun but attend a hearing within two hours for a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to at least temporarily take the weapon away.

The other option would be for the person to give their guns to police immediately and then have a judicial hearing within a week, Westerfield said.

Westerfield acknowledged the proposals have potential problems, such as provoking someone to commit an act of violence after telling them they can keep their guns but face a hearing to remove them in a matter of hours.


That’s one potential problem, sure, but that’s also just a theoretical problem.

The bigger issue, at least in my mind, is that there’s not much of a chance of anyone being able to get legal representation within a two-hour timeframe. Every attorney I know has a pretty booked schedule. Getting them to drop everything to show up at a hearing within an hour or so is probably a long order.

Two weeks might be feasible in that regard, but people are already stripped of their right to keep and bear arms while they wait for a hearing. In a way, that’s even worse than your typical red flag law.

In either case, what we’re seeing is someone with no criminal record being railroaded into potentially losing a constitutionally protected right, simply because someone else was made uncomfortable for some reason.

It’s either give up your guns now and have time to get a lawyer–if you can afford to get a lawyer, that is–or have to be in court in a couple of hours regardless of literally anything else going on in your life and face losing your rights because you aren’t equipped to counter the accusations against you.


Yeah, I can’t imagine why a lot of Westerfield’s fellow Republicans are unimpressed with this.

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