'Red Flag' laws and their awful consequences

‘Red Flag’ laws and their awful consequences

Gun Rights

Since the horrific murders in Parkland, just minutes from my hometown in South Florida, our country has seen a renewed push for more restrictive gun laws. Assault weapon bans , restrictions on the storage of firearms, and pushes for every type of gun law appear at both the federal and state level. While most of these propositions have fizzled out, red flag laws—those allowing police to pre-emptively confiscate a person’s firearms—have exhibited the most staying power. The orders resulting from these laws are known as “gun violence restraining orders.” While these laws certainly have a reasonable basis, the way such laws have been implemented in many states poses serious legal, and prudential concerns. The Constitutional guarantee of due process is the most commonly cited concern in the implementation of red flag laws. Most of these laws reflect a view of due process shown by Donald Trump in 2018 when he quipped, “ take the guns first, go through due process second .” The problem here is the first word of “due process:” legal process is “due” before the government takes someone’s “life, liberty, or property,” not after. In 2018, five states had laws that fit the bill of a typical “red flag law.” With Hawaii’s governor signing Act 150 in early July , that number has rose to 17 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly all GVROs provide for the removal of a person’s firearms without ever giving them notice. In many of these schemes, including California’s, a […]

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