In February of 2018, after the tragic shooting in Parkland, FL, President Donald Trump took to national television to betray his oath to the Constitution and his supporters and famously said, “take the guns first, go through due process second.” While this was largely ignored by his base and downplayed in the media, since then—that’s exactly what’s been happening.
As politicians and anti-gun rights activists continuously chant, “we don’t want to take your guns,” behind the scenes — in only the year — politicians have been working overtime to limit your right to bear arms.
In just the first six months after the shooting in Parkland and the president’s statement, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence recorded a whopping 55 new gun control measures in 26 states. That number is now far greater as states pass “red flag” gun laws to literally do what Trump advocated for in Feb. 2018. They are taking the guns first and seeking due process second.
Colorado just became the 15th state to pass such a law and if it is signed by the governor—which it will be—Colorado citizens will be subject to laws which allow their guns to be seized without them having any say in it whatsoever.
Citizens who are targeted by the law will be deemed guilty first and only after their guns are taken, will they have a chance to defend themselves in court. This is the 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. This is exactly what is happening in Colorado.
This new law is so egregious that even the National Rifle Association (NRA) is speaking out, despite their silence in the face of other “red flag” laws.
“Unchallenged statements made by a petitioner before a judge … would be sufficient for law enforcement to enter that person’s home and confiscate their private property,” the NRA said in a statement.
What’s more, the overwhelming majority of elected sheriffs in the state—50 out of 62—have been outspoken against this measure. According to Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, this law also puts cops in danger because they’d be showing up unannounced to steal people’s guns despite no crime having been committed.
Despite the resistance from law enforcement, the bill’s head sponsor disagrees.
“This bill will give law enforcement and families the tools that they need to stop tragedies from constantly happening and save lives,” House Rep. Tom Sullivan (D) said.
Sullivan ran for state representative after he tragically lost his son in the Aurora mass shooting in 2012. While his son’s death is certainly tragic, laws like this one would likely not have prevented it.
We’ve seen this play out before already. Earlier this year, a tragedy unfolded in California as a deranged gunman, Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, walked up on an innocent woman, officer Natalie Corona, pulled out his guns and began shooting her repeatedly until she died. Limbaugh then fired several more shots at others before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Had more people been nearby, Limbaugh would’ve likely carried out a mass shooting.
Limbaugh’s case is important to bring up due to the fact that he was subject to California’s “red flag” laws in 2018. Limbaugh was given a high-risk assessment that ordered him to turn in his registered weapons to police, the only one being a Bushmaster AR-15. On November 9, Limbaugh turned in the weapon.
Despite being banned from possessing a weapon, he still obtained one illegally and used it to commit murder.
What’s more, there were already laws on the books that should’ve stopped Nikolas Cruz from ever getting a gun as well. But none of them worked.
Citing Cruz as the reason for advocating the erosion of the 2nd Amendment, the anti-gun activists are claiming he should’ve had his guns taken which would have prevented the tragedy. Sadly, however, they are ignoring the fact that he was accused of multiple felonies by multiple people—and should’ve never been able to purchase a gun in the first place—but law enforcement failed to act on any of it.
The reactionary nature of disarming Americans because deranged psychopaths kill people is dangerous and only serves to keep the guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens as the above two cases illustrate. Moreover, deranged psychopaths don’t even need guns to cause mass death.
According to a 2015 study, even if all guns were removed from America, in a ten year period, 355 people still would’ve been murdered in mass killings.
From 2006 to 2015, 140 people were murdered by arsonists in mass fires, 104 were stabbed in mass stabbings, and 92 people were beaten to death in mass killings. To reiterate, these are deaths in which four or more people were killed.
“People sufficiently enraged to commit such crimes may also be motivated to find other ways,” criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University points out.
Now, Colorado citizens will be able to disarm their neighbors over a feud or send a swat team to an ex-husband’s home to take his guns over an argument—and all of it will be legal—due process and innocence be damned.