Red Flag legislation: A comprehensive review for NY and nation – part 3

Courts and gun laws

August 20, 2018 – Vestal, NY – The following is the full transcript of a speech, made by M V Consulting Inc and Liberty First Foundation NY Chapter president Michael “Vass” Vasquez to the members of the Americans for Restoring the Constitution (AFRTC) and the general public at the Vestal Public Library. The speech is an in-depth review of Red Flag legislation in New York State and across the nation. Due to the length of the details and data, compiled from over 50 sources and growing in an on-going investigation, the speech is being split into 8 parts. Due to time constraints, the actual live presentation truncated portions of the original documentation, without alteration of the data, details, or context.

Any news media organization that wishes to receive this presentation in its original form or reprint these articles, including all public sources, in order to address this growing trend of legislation and inform the public of all aspects of this legislation, is given full rights to do so. To receive a copy of the original form, please contact us.

Amended (due to time constraints) speech at Vestal Public Library:

Q & A with audience after the presentation:

According to CNN there have been 23 school shootings as of May 25, 2018. They claim that this equates to 1 shooting per week. To be exact the headline of the article is, “There has been, on average, 1 school shooting every week this year“. But if you read further into the article, their ranking is any incident where at least 1 person was injured, including accidents and gang-related causes, and domestic violence, for people of any age, as long as it took place on school grounds. The CNN list includes a person shot by a BB-gun. Surprisingly the City of Chicago is not a location on their list – though that was before the weekend of August 6, 2018.

This is the environment of the current day. The number and type of incidents are hyped by media to create fear. This kind of misdirection, where social media focuses on the headline and maybe a sentence or 2 of the first paragraph, has been a driving force for the anti-2nd Amendment movement. Within days of the Parkland shooting, the hype was rampant, with overinflated generalizations of shootings, like that of CNN and other news media, flooding twitter and headlines across the nation.

It’s this fear, that moved Red Flag Legislation from a fringe idea to the current wave sweeping the nation. Connecticut is the State with the first Red Flag Law passed in 1999. Indiana was next in 2005, California passed their version on 2014. Washington followed in 2016, with Oregon falling in 2017.

Since the Parkland FL shooting, Florida was the first State to adopt Red Flag laws in March. In April Maryland and Vermont joined in. June had 3 States jump on the emotional bandwagon: Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. In July, Massachusetts and Illinois bring us to date. Several States will be considering legislation in the Fall sessions.

So now we understand most of the key facts in the background, but what is a Red Flag legislation? Well it goes by many names, the most common ones being Red Flag or Extreme Risk Protection Order or ERPO. There are some variations in different states but key words “risk” and “protection” are often included.

Whatever name it may go by, several consistent themes are present:

    1) Law enforcement, and possibly other individuals depending on the State – which can be family members, current or former roommates, teachers, temporary part-time team sports coaches – can initiate the Red Flag process.
    2) A warrant must be received from a Court – though some legislation like in Indiana allow for a retro-active warrant.
    3) There must be a determination that a threat exists to either the target of the legislation or a larger group of people – household, school, work, community at large, ect.
    4) Proof of danger, if required, can be the purchase of a firearm and/or ammunition and/or a “dangerous instrument” – which has no definition – within a timeframe of a week up to 6 months.
    5) The entire process can, and normally is, conducted ex parte – meaning that the target of the legislation is never informed until a determination against them has been made, often only occurring at the time of seizure.
    6) All firearms present are seized by law enforcement on behalf of the government.
    7) The target of the legislation then has a varying timeframe to challenge the determination, and seek to regain their firearm(s). That timeframe can vary from 14 days to 1 year.
    8) The government, if they lose the challenge, can provide the firearm(s) or its equivalent value within a timeframe, up to 180 days of loss. In some cases firearm(s) can be destroyed by the Government.
    9) No provision for remuneration exists for someone falsely accused.

Let’s pause a moment.
Red Flag laws in New York State
How exactly does law enforcement, or any other person enabled by law, become aware of the supposed threat? It’s not clear what can be the valid initiating incident. It could be a tweet or social media comment. It could be a fight, physical or verbal, that is observed or reported to law enforcement. It could be a teacher observing a child is tired, or has a bruise, or otherwise creates the impression that they have a “troubled” home. In fact, under the wording of several States, it could be a hunch of the officer or others.

Retroactive warrants are its own self-described nightmare. Justification after the fact is fraught with the potential of fraud and abuse.

How exactly is a threat, and the level of threat determined? Again, the nature of a tweet/comment? The severity of a verbal or physical, fight? Observation of erratic behavior? No uniform criteria exist for this.

There can be no proof of danger when that proof can be the purchase of a knife (the cause in 2016 of 536% more deaths in the 5 original Red Flag States than rifles) up to half a year prior. Baseball bats, Hammers, and Bricks (all part of the Other category in the 2016 FBI murder crime data – and responsible for 455% more deaths than rifles) also qualify. In fact almost anything qualifies, and it would be near impossible to prove how anything isn’t “dangerous” depending on the user and/or intent.

I will come back to Due Process in a moment. Instead, how will the seized firearm(s) be stored? Where? Under whose command and control?

The cost of a court challenge can be in the thousands, possible tens of thousands of dollars according to a guesstimate by attorney Mark Wolberg. Multiple attorneys consulted for this presentation agreed on the general range – citing time and potential difficulties of any potential case being factors in the cost. How many people have an extra $10,000 immediately available for a possible prosecution? As reported by CNBC in September 2017, the 57% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved. And more than 40% of millennials 34 and under have $0 saved.

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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