by Rob Morse
By Shayna Lopez-Rivas
Here’s the deal about red flag laws that brings up how dangerous these laws are to your rights and what I warned politicians about when I went to D.C. a few weeks ago.
1) Say you have a woman trying to leave her very violent husband. She takes out a restraining order. However, she lives in The Middle Of Nowhere, USA where it takes police thirty minutes to get to her, lights and sirens blazing. So she has a gun to protect herself because she just knows she’s going to need it. Her husband reports her under the red flag law. The police take her gun without assessing the situation. She has to wait AT LEAST two weeks for her court date to prove this was just another means for her husband to harass and victimize her. Except she never makes it to her court date. Because before she can, her husband (who knows she’s now defenseless and an easy target) violates the restraining order stabbing her to death in her house. That is the danger of having ambiguous gun laws where, in some states, even your neighbors and coworkers who may not know (or like you) well can report you for, essentially, thought crime.
2) When Florida instituted our red flag law it was because of the Parkland shooting. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were congratulating each other on passing a law that would’ve have stopped the shooting. Except it wouldn’t have. Because if it had passed previously, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) would have still had to enforce it which they’ve proven they suck at…well, law enforcement. Based on the fact that BCSO went to the parkland shooter’s home 23 times, including the time he held a GUN to his own mother’s head, and never once made an arrest for domestic violence…why would they instead suddenly enforce this red flag law. By the way, if BCSO had, in fact, done their job the Parkland shooter would have been a prohibited possessor for life. He would not have been able to legally obtain a firearm. We don’t need new laws that turn Orwellian 1984 into a reality where thought crimes exist and you can be a threat because you have an unpopular opinion and your neighbor reports you…we need actual enforcement of laws we already have in place. Like the ones where if you are called to someone’s house 23 times for domestic abuse, you make an arrest. Period.
3) In states that have had red flag laws in place the longest, it’s been proven that quite a bit of people were found innocent of the behavior in which they had been accused. And of the vast majority of those cases, the people never had their property returned and in some cases never had their 2nd Amendment rights restored. They say they have punishments in place for false accusations, but just look at the statistics of false police reports and the amount that are actually prosecuted now. No one will face punishment for abusing the red flag law to harass someone they want to harass. This is a PROBLEM.
4) Name one other law in the United States in which a defendant has to prove their innocence rather then be proven guilty. There are none. But this red flag law puts the burden of proof on the person accused, not on the accuser.
Red flag laws are wrong. They are not well thought out. They do not include true due process. They are an emotional response to traumatic tragedies that do more harm then good. If you want to see significant drops in violence, start enforcing the laws we already have. Start arresting and really prosecuting criminals. Give people better access to quality mental health care. Get trained and stay prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones.
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