As TFTP reported in April, Biden promised sweeping gun control and rolled out a list of Executive Orders attacking the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans. One of those orders was a promise to implement “red flag” legislation at the federal level within 60 days. It’s been 60 days.
The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model “red flag” legislation for states, Biden’s executive order stated.
Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. The President urges Congress to pass an appropriate national “red flag” law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass “red flag” laws of their own. In the interim, the Justice Department’s published model legislation will make it easier for states that want to adopt red flag laws to do so.
However, as TFTP has reported, red flag laws are a slippery slope and do more harm than good.
As Reason magazine points out, the proposed language describes a process that is rigged against respondents from beginning to end, allowing courts to strip people of their Second Amendment rights based on little more than bare allegations by potentially mistaken, biased, or malicious petitioners.
For the past three years, Democrats and Republicans alike have joined forces to pass sweeping regulations that could serve as a death blow to the Second Amendment. Red flag laws have been passed in a total of 19 states and police are showing how willing they are to use them. With Biden’s plan, these laws will be extended to all 50 states.
Citizens who are targeted by these laws are deemed guilty first and only after their guns are taken, will they have a chance to defend themselves in court. This is de facto removal of due process.
As Reuters reports, under the legislation, a family member or law enforcement officer could petition a judge to seize firearms from a person they think is a threat to themselves or others. The judge could then hold a hearing without the targeted person being present and grant a temporary order for 14 days.
Under the fifth and fourteenth amendments, due process clauses are in place to act as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government outside the sanction of law.
In spite of what officials and the media claim, when a person is stripped of their constitutional rights, albeit temporarily, without being given the chance to make their own case based on what can be entirely arbitrary accusations, this is the removal of due process. It doesn’t work, and it is rife for abuse as there is no way to stop an estranged spouse from calling police repeatedly and telling them their ex is threatening to cause harm to others.
Anyone, any time, now has the ability to claim someone else is a threat and have police take their guns. One does not need to delve into the multiple ‘what if’ scenarios to see what sort of ominous implications arise from such a practice.
While the Biden administration touts red flag laws as an answer to “the gun violence public health epidemic,” there is little thought behind them.
In reality, the impetus behind the red flag gun laws seem to be more about political grandstanding and less about actual safety — especially considering their track record.
Despite many states adopting red flag laws and thousands of guns being seized, there is still almost no evidence they reduce crime.
“The evidence,” The New York Times reported in 2019, “for whether extreme risk protection orders work to prevent gun violence is inconclusive, according to a study by the RAND Corporation on the effectiveness of gun safety measures.”
Despite no evidence that red flag laws work, the DOJ says their approach is “evidence based.” As Reason reports:
The Justice Department is cagey on this point, saying red flag laws authorize courts to “temporarily bar people in crisis from accessing firearms.” By “allowing family members or law enforcement to intervene…before warning signs turn into tragedy,” the DOJ avers, such laws “can save lives,” which it claims “research has shown.” It describes red flag laws as “an evidence-based approach to the problem” without specifying exactly what “the problem” is. But since the only real evidence pertains to suicide rather than homicide, it should be clear that politicians who support these laws are doing a bait and switch: They cite mass shootings to justify authorizing court orders that are mainly used to stop people from killing themselves.
The Justice Department pays lip service to “due process” and “protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans,” and it acknowledges the possibility of “false or harassing applications” for gun confiscation orders. But its model legislation contradicts those caveats. Here is how the proposal addresses some of the major issues raised by red flag laws.
Though the DOJ claims it helps prevent suicide, other studies show it may make the problem worse as gun control measures like red flag laws that seek to deprive people of their guns on an ostensible mental-health basis can actually deter struggling people from seeking the help they need. By this logic, a red flag gun-control approach to suicide prevention is not merely useless and tyrannical—it’s actually counterproductive.
The bottom line is that government officials cannot be trusted unwittingly with the tyrannical power to arbitrarily remove the due process of individuals on a whim. If not stopped in its tracks, this red flag movement will be the fatal crack in the dam that is the only thing holding back the government from disarming entirely peaceful and non-threatening individuals with whom they disagree.