Overkill: 2019 Red Flag Gun Laws Exceed Constitution and Presumption of Innocence

Reaction to Gun Violence in Most Liberal States

Prominent blue states (CA, OR, WA, CT, NY, MA, IL and others) have taken it upon themselves to react to the various shootings that have taken place nationwide by using Red Flag Laws. Mass shootings are very rare. Despite the press they get, they are less frequent than ever before. In reaction to the hype, politicians responded to concern by over-reacting to appear as if they’re “doing something” to fix this.

The risk of being involved in a mass shooting is similar to that of being struck by lightning.

California’s laws are, of course, the most draconian and disregarding of citizen’s rights ever. Not only can a person’s firearms be taken on a family-member’s word, but now it is proposed that co-workers, bosses, teachers and neighbors can also file to do so. They claim that since there is a “judicial process” (often just signing a complaint form about someone), that it is constitutional. Even previous Democrat Governor Jerry Brown was against expanding the list of those that can demand gun removal, as he thought it was best to limit it to family that know the person.

As evidence of how badly the system is being misused, in California for 2016 and 2017, 189 gun violence restraining orders (GVROs) were filed. Only 12 of them were filed by concerned families, the rest by police. In 2018 there were 159 GVROs, indicating popularity. Sales of semi-automatic rifles are now limited to one per month there, and private sales are limited in theory, though no enforcement is possible preemptively on this. Long known to be a bad place to own guns, California is getting worse.

Red Flag: Activist Judges Decide Time Frame For Confiscation

Initial confiscation periods are for one year, with provisions to keep filing Judicial Extensions up to five years, at least in California. There are appeals, but given California’s Judicial makeup, they are not likely to succeed. Additionally, many states with Red Flag laws destroy confiscated guns if a court date is missed, or proper recovery paperwork is not filed. There is plenty of room for denial of rights via procedural inefficiency, however nobody in Government seems too concerned.

In Connecticut, between 1999 and 2013, 764 “imminent risk” seizures were performed. For 70% of those, there is no outcome available to report. Of the remaining (229), in 68% of these cases, Judges decided the state should keep the property. Of the remaining 32%, 20 of the accused had their property returned to them, 15 had it returned to family members, and 30 people’s property was destroyed. Not a good trend for “precautionary measures”, eh?

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The Constitutionality of these laws has barely begun to be judged in courts, though the 116th Congress has discussed the issue. So far the Supreme Court has not taken a case determining violations of the Second Amendment. Even the Fourth Amendment’s right to not have property taken without due process applies. Due process is something you don’t have when the seizures are unannounced.

Gangs Are Not on the List For Confiscations in California

It’s true, using the police’s list of gang members and suspected gang members for Red Flag laws is prohibited there! “Suspected White Supremacists” (probably from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s or FBI’s lists) are fine. Nobody else has to worry about it. Law-abiding citizens can be reported by anonymous tips, but real proven violent thugs are immune.

Studies indicate that these Red Flag laws don’t have any noticeable effects on crime rates. The risk of being involved in a mass shooting is similar to that of being struck by lightning. The press coverage hypes it to the point that some people fear crowds. It is in this kind of atmosphere that politicians propose Red Flag laws to appear as if they are addressing the problem.

As time goes on, statistics will show no drastic differences in states with or without Red Flag laws. Except that in those with them, the nanny state will have much more power. It is in their playbook to remove citizens rights in the name of (illusory) security. Those places are more vulnerable to the destructive scourge of Socialism, and with it anarchy, as resources dwindle in order to support it. Don’t feed the fear; stand up for your rights while you still have them!


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Author Profile

Karl Donaldson
Karl Donaldson
Karl Donaldson is an editor and writer for NRN. Partial to his two cats, he lives in New Hampshire with his wife and a veritable menagerie of his wife's creatures.