An old proverb states, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Is Colorado’s “Red Flag Law” passed in April of this year a good example of this? On the wake of several recent large-scale shootings, these laws have become more popular, and are even being considered on a national level.
Colorado’s red flag law allows family or others to petition a court to have someone’s firearm’s seized based on demonstrating that said person poses a danger based on the “preponderance of the evidence”, meaning just more than a 50/50 chance of accuracy.
Once the court seizes someone’s firearms, the gun owner must then demonstrate to a much higher burden of proof, “clear and convincing evidence”, that they do not pose a threat. In other words, they are guilty until they prove themselves innocent, not the judicial standard in America.
A disgruntled ex-spouse, neighbor, or coworker with a grudge against a legal and law-abiding gun own owner is enough to trigger a red flag law, without any input of mental health professionals assessing the accused’s state of mind.
Such laws violate three amendments within the Bill of Rights, casting the Constitutional validity of red flag laws into question. These laws usurp the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms, the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Sixth Amendment’s right of the accused to a speedy and public trial.
The premise is that those who are mentally ill are more prone to violence. Yet research shows only 4 percent of violence in the US as attributed to mental illness. Given that 1 in 6 Americans take antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs, a large swath of the population can be accused of posing a threat under a red flag law, without adequate justification.
Then there is the recent media narrative of labeling political opposition as “racism” or “white supremacy”, painting President Trump and his supporters as terrorists or members of hate groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center, quick to identify any right of center group as a hate group, has identified such to include white nationalist, male supremacy, Christian identity, and anti-immigrant.
Is it a stretch to believe that under a red flag law, a white Christian male gun owner, who is against open borders, is considered a threat? And under such logic and should have their firearms confiscated? Far-fetched you say?
Ask Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop how far the Colorado state government was willing to go in harassing and threatening an individual for exercising his freedom of religion by declining to decorate a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding or gender transition.
Fliers calling for “death camps for Trump supporters” recently turned up at various locations on Long Island this month. Climate warriors, such as Bill Nye, are “open to criminal charges and jail time for climate change deniers.”
If sentiment toward conservatives is that they are criminal and pose a clear and present danger to society, why wouldn’t political opponents want to confiscate their firearms?
All the Democrat and media talk of “white supremacy” is a clever way to paint half the American population with a broad brush as potentially dangerous, setting the stage for applying red flag laws in a discriminatory manner.
The “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is an important bulwark against an overzealous or tyrannical government. Red flag laws are a “feel good” measure against gun violence but represent a slippery slope toward gun confiscation.
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