The Uselessness and Danger of Red Flag Laws

Red Flag laws assault freedom

By: John Restuccia

John Restuccia - President BU College Libertarians and write at Binghamton Review
John Restuccia

            It seems that gun control is an issue that pops up after every mass killing or active shooter situation. After each tragedy a new wave of Anti-Second Amendment activists appear pushing gun control legislation in the hope to end these vile acts. Each time however gun control legislation proves to be useless and can even be infringing on our Rights.This is the case with Red Flag laws which will affect everyone.

What’s a Red Flag law

            Red Flag laws,also known as Extreme Risk Protections Orders, are a form of gun control that allows law enforcement to take an individual’s firearms without a crime ever being committed. Neighbors, family, friends, even teachers can -depending on the State – report an individual if they deem their behavior suspicious. But the definition of what is”suspicious” is arbitrary. The decision totake a firearm comes from a judge. which then is enacted by law enforcement.

Red Flag laws began 20 years ago, in 1999, in the State of Connecticut. The law was passed after a shooting at a state lottery building. It was there that a disgruntled worker killed 4 of his bosses. Since then, 15 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have passed variations of Red Flag legislation.

FBI data

The FBI did a study on the number of active shooters from 2000 – 2017. The active shooter death total of those combined years was 799 people, with an additional 1,418 people wounded. The report also shows there have been 250 active shooters spread across every State except 7 States.

It must be noted there is a distinct difference between active shooters and mass killings. The terms are often confused or combined, but they are different. The FBI defines a mass killing as an event where 3 or more people are killed. An active shooter is defined by the FBI as

<blockquote>“…an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”</blockquote>

Do Red Flag laws work?

Of the 7 States without active shooters, none had a Extreme Risk Protection Order law. Only Delaware would add Red Flag legislation. The Red Flag law was passed in June 2018, a year after the FBI study. One month after the Delaware law was passed, a mass shooting occurred in Delaware. It was a murder-suicide in Prices Corner.

            The question then becomes, are their active shooters in States that have enacted these Red Flag laws? The answer is yes. Several States provide clear examples of this.

Sen. Feinstein has no firearm safety knowledge

California passed and enacted a Red Flag law in 2014. Since that time, California has seen 10 different active shooter situations throughout the State. This includes the infamous San Bernardino shooting, and the Thousand Oaks Shooting. Those 2 mass killings had a combined death toll of 26 lives.

Connecticut has seen 2 different active shooter situations since the ERPO (another name of Red Flag legislation) was adopted. These include the Hartford Distributors shooting which killed 9 people and the vile Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Sandy Hook was one of the deadliest mass shootings ever to be witnessed, killing 27 people at the school.

What do Red Flag laws actually do

In each case, in each State, none of these were stopped by Red Flag laws. There is no mistake, mass shootings are still occurring despite Red Flag laws in place. This is true even though Red Flag laws can affect anyone in the states they are passed.

They encourage communities to turn on each other. To try to search for potentially criminal or “suspicious” behavior. Almost anyone can turn you in for seemingly whatever reason they feel like.

As an example, what if your neighbor views you as a threat for legally buying an AR-15, which you have a legal right to own? What if a coworker sees that you have an NRA bumper sticker, and thinks your support of the Second Amendment makes you a crazy gun nut? In either case, your firearms can be removed from your possession.

These are all potential issues that are entirely plausible and possible in States that are pass Red Flag laws. An ever more realistic scenario due to the increasingly tense political climate. All of this while a law abiding citizen, without committing a crime, is denied Due Process.

Politicians pile on

            Despite the fact that these laws are ineffective at stopping active shooters, and have potentially massive implications, there is still a major push for the legislation. On both sides of the aisle. due to the increasing call from Far Left activists for gun control measures. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC)  has openly voiced support for Red Flag laws during Senate hearings in March 2019. He has said,

<blockquote>”Today’shearing will focus on the possibility of incentivizing states to create their own Red Flag laws – which would be unique to their states. 

It is the start of a discussion. It is a learning opportunity for us all. Hopefully it can be productive and make our towns, communities, cities and states a little safer.”</blockquote>

When Red Flag was passed in New York State in February 2019, Democrat Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, joined Governor Andrew Cuomo to show joint support for the legislation. Speaker Pelosi said,

<blockquote>”These bills are bold and far-reaching, containing strong, comprehensive solutions to save lives and end the crisis of senseless gun violence in America.”</blockquote>

            Supporting Speaker Pelosi and Sen.Graham, there is not much opposition to Red Flag legislation. The NRA has opposed Red Flag laws for the most part. But at the same time approves conditionally taking firearms from an individual.

What can you do

Therefore it is up to the citizens who support the 2nd Amendment to do something about this. Contact your Representatives. Make Red Flag Laws a major issue when going to the polls. Vote out those who voted for Red Flag laws previously.

https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-incidents-graphics
https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-04-10/fbi-27-active-shooter-incidents-in-2018-claimed-85-lives
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/01/red-flag-laws-temporarily-take-away-guns/3521491002/
https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-resources
https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/active-shooter-incidents-2000-2017-heat-map-dec-2018.pdf/view
https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-joined-speaker-pelosi-signs-red-flag-gun-protection-bill
https://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-lottery-shooting-newington-1998-story.html
https://www.inquirer.com/news/extreme-risk-protection-orders-guns-pennsylvania-stephens-killion-20190305.html
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/19/under-pressure-nra-voices-support-gun-violence-restraining-orders/433716002/
https://6abc.com/police-investigate-multiple-deaths-inside-prices-corner-home/3734627/
https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/press/rep/releases/graham-written-statement-for-the-record-and-background-for-hearing-entitled-red-flag-laws-examining-guidelines-for-state-action

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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