Trojan Horse? The Dangers of Red Flag Laws

Red Flag Laws, such as the bipartisan proposed Emergency Risk Protection Order, are at the center of many debates in the world of gun policy. For those who don’t know what the Emergency Risk Protection Order is, here is a quick review. Essentially, Red Flag Laws would allow a third party to petition the courts to suspend an individual’s 2nd amendment rights to keep and bear arms. Proponents of this bill insist that it may aide in preventing mass shootings. Frankly, I feel that these laws are blatantly unconstitutional and it has the potential to set an extremely dangerous precedent. For those proponents that claim this proposed law may prevent mass shootings, I will gladly direct them to the state of Connecticut. Connecticut was the first state to adopt red flag laws in 1999. The implementation of these laws did nothing to prevent the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary nor the Hartford Distributors Shootings. The suggestion that courts can make a determination, based on a third party report, to suspend your 2nd amendment rights without a process or structure in place for you to defend yourself beforehand seems to be in direct violation of our 5th amendment rights to due process. You can appeal the decision, but naturally this will be a drawn out and expensive process. We also have a 6th amendment right to face our accuser, the proposed bill and existing red flag laws seemingly violate this amendment as well. The suggestion that you can be stripped of your constitutional rights to bear arms based on a third party assumption, rather than a conviction, is a dangerous precedent. This is akin to “The Minority Report” where individuals are arrested before they can commit a crime. Am I saying that these laws will lead to a U.S. society where our government can disarm its citizens at will without regard to their 2nd amendment rights? No, not at all. Am I saying that these laws can set the stage where this is possible? Yes, I most certainly am.

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