A Bad “Red Flag” Law Will Be A Bridge Too Far For Gunowners

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Following a weekend in which two mass shooters gunned down dozens of people, President Trump and other GOP leaders came out and gave implied support to “Red Flag” laws that could presumably allow authorities to seize firearms from gunowners without due process:

Looking to capitalize on emotions, Democrats attempted to guilt Trump and McConnell into forcing the Senate out of recess to pass worthless gun controls which would not have stopped either shooting:

A growing number of Democrats are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the chamber’s August recess so that they can take up gun control legislation in the wake of two mass shootings this weekend.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the Republican leader to end the chamber’s break to vote on a universal background check bill after the two shootings… The Senate is currently in recess until September.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt…, also called on McConnell to bring the Senate back into session.

Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, made the same plea in a tweet on Sunday.

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., also pressed McConnell to bring the bill to a vote.

Obviously gun control always talks about taking the guns without due process, but yet, they never mention taking the car keys and driver’s licenses with them (much less the prescription painkillers).  Apparently a gun is deadly, but a 3000+lb vehicle is not

If someone is dangerous enough to be considered a threat to multiple others, why are they not locked up in a mental institution, instead of seizing firearms and praying the problem goes away?  If “Trump supporters” are committing all the mass shootings, why does the DNC never talk about taking away voting rights with the guns?  Perhaps the DNC is worried its voting block might be ultimately responsible for these shootings, as was all but certainly the case in Dayton:

On Nov. 2, 2018, he wrote: “Vote blue for gods sake.” He also retweeted Bernie Sanders.

“@robportman hey rob. How much did they pay you to look the other way? 17 kids are dead. If not now, when?”

And though El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius has had a “manifesto” posted on 8chan attributed to him, no one can confirm for certain if he wrote the manifesto or if it’s all an elaborate “chan” hoax, or if Crusius even knew about the site at all.  Why did Crusius surrender willingly, if he wrote that he planned not to go alive?

My death is likely inevitable. If I’m not killed by the police, then I’ll probably be gunned down by one of the invaders. Capture in this case if far worse than dying during the shooting because I’ll get the death penalty anyway. Worse still is that I would live knowing that my family despises me. This is why I’m not going to surrender even if I run out of ammo. If I’m captured, it will be because I was subdued somehow.

Everyone should be also skeptical that he was raised right-wing, considering his family background:

Regardless of the background of these two murderers, back-to-back mass shootings in the same weekend has led to calls for more useless gun controls, and an urgency to implement them before cooler heads prevail and prevent lawmakers from passing laws that won’t prevent mass homicide.  But, instead of the very pointless proposed “Universal Background Checks” (UBCs), GOP lawmakers appear willing to go along with “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPOs), or more simply, a “Red Flag” law to seize guns from potentially dangerous individuals.

These Red Flag laws already exist in liberal states, and have been used to devastating effect on legal gunowners.  One gunowner in Vermont, – a supposedly pro-gun “constitutional carry” state – had his guns seized not because the gunowner himself was deemed dangerous, but because relatives planned to steal his guns for mass murder purposes:

Prosecutors obtained a temporary 14-day “extreme risk protection order” to seize about a dozen firearms from the relative of one of the two students allegedly involved in the plot.

Hanley, who describes the confiscated guns as sport firearms and collectibles,” said seizing the guns from the relative, who is not accused of being involved in the alleged plot, “allowed us to at least make things safe for the time, and then we’ll resolve the issues later.”

Whether the relative’s weapons are returned when the 14-day temporary order expires will be up to a judge.

So instead of locking the relatives up for conspiracy to commit murder, police instead decided to… steal the guns before the relatives could.  What would have happened if the perpetrators threatened to steal guns from a gun retailer?  Would they have shut down the whole establishment?  Or what if the whole thing was an elaborate hoax to leave the gunowner defenseless and expose him to harm?

Even worse, firearm seizure itself can turn deadly. A “false alarm” is alleged to have resulted in the death of a gunowner in Maryland, another state with a Red Flag law:

According to police, Gary Willis opened the door with a pistol in his hand. He initially put the gun down, but picked it back up and then “became irate” at law enforcement when they tried to serve him the order. A struggle began for the gun between Willis and one of the officers at the scene.

According to Anne Arundel County Police spokeswoman, Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, a second officer at the home of Willis, shot and killed the Ferndale man. None of the officers trying to serve the order were hurt.

Michele Willis is the niece of Gary Willis. She described her uncle as a person that likes to speak his mind but was harmless. She stated that her uncle wasn’t a danger to anyone and questioned the police response.

Although Willis’s niece, Michele Willis, said her aunt took out the order on Willis. She said it was just “family being family.”

Notice how there are relatively few “Red Flag” seizures in Baltimore, the 2nd deadliest city in the US, with a murder rate 10 times higher than the national average?

Still, Maryland still considers this a success, likely because just 14% of gunowners have successfully had their weapons returned.  Presumably they still have access to automobiles and prescription painkillers, not to mention voting booths to re-elect the same corrupt anti-gun politicians that have been unable to stem the increase in violent crime within Maryland.

Red Flag laws are potentially “SWATting” on steroids.  Your neighbor finds out that you voted for Trump?  One call to the police, one false allegation – BOOM – your door is broken down and your firearms removed.  An anti-gun friend finds out you’re a competition marksman or deer hunter, and wants to put a stop to that?  What better place to look than a Red Flag enforcing Sheriff – happy to seize guns first and ask questions later.

Maybe you’ll get them back later, maybe not – but what you likely won’t get is justice for a false allegation.  Unlike libel/slander laws, which are more clearly defined to print/verbal defamation, a “Red Flagger” merely needs to defend the state of mind he/she was thought to be in when the potential threat was phoned in.  This is far more difficult to prove in today’s courts than a false rape allegation, a crime which is already very hard for victims to receive justice.

A bad “Red Flag” law is potentially far worse than even UBC’s or an “assault weapons ban” – opening up the door for not just denial of due process, but overloading authorities with baseless claims to confiscate firearms from conservatives.  Of course, this will all be done without saving one life – Red Flag laws would almost certainly not have stopped either of the recent back-to-back mass shootings.

Now, in spite of Trump and the NRA’s words, I don’t think the NRA will endorse (or Trump will sign) a bad Red Flag law and alienate gunowners.  We’ve seen this story before – remember when Trump promised gun-grabbing California Senator Dianne Feinstein that she would “get her amendment” in the wake of the Parkland shooting?  She got dick squat.  It sure feels like Trump and McConnell are paying lip service to anti-gunners and allowing time for cooler heads to prevail, while they craft a bill that likely won’t solve the problem – but at least won’t solve the problem and infringe on gunowner rights.

But – if I’m wrong and the NRA endorses a bad Red Flag bill that Trump signs into law – that’s it for me.  I don’t need to renew my NRA membership, and Trump doesn’t need my vote in 2020.  Gunowners never got a vote on the Hearing Protection Act, or CCW Reciprocity – but they’re gonna get a vote and signature on a national Red Flag law?  Paul Ryan isn’t around to blame anymore for inaction on gun rights.  Even if Trump / the NRA / the GOP are all just gun rights defense, at least they stopped bad legislation from becoming law.

If the NRA and GOP can’t defend gun rights now, they won’t ever be able to, so they might as well just give up.  Let Democrats pass a UBC law, another AWB, and all the other gun controls Democrats want.  Sooner or later they’ll pass anyway, and survive in the anti-gun courts.  The only defense gunowners will have at that point is exercising your 2A rights and stockpiling as much guns and ammo as possible – assuming they don’t get seized as a result of a bad Red Flag law.

For the record, and as one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, I have no reason to doubt him now. I also have no reason to think Trump will alienate one of his core constituencies right before his re-election campaign really kicks off.

Trump is likely just A/B testing with lip service to see which proposal is most agreeable to his base and swing voters.  Both his sons are pro-gun and avid hunters – and in spite of Eric’s repeating of NRA talking points, I don’t believe Trump will ignore their advice on gun legislation.

But if Trump does sign a bad “Red Flag” bill into law…

…it’ll be time to give up on the NRA, as they’ll have proven themselves completely incapable of stopping gun grabbers from stripping away the 2nd Amendment.