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Op-Ed: ‘Red Flag’ laws are not good for gun owners

A handgun. (Max Pixel/Free Use)

Ever since the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many politicians have come up with strategies to prevent another tragedy like that from ever happening again. We have heard everything from arming teachers to improving mental health programs, to disarming individuals who may pose a threat. This is where “Red Flag” bills have been introduced.

Red Flag bills have been met with both community approval and serious Second Amendment violation concerns. Yet still, many citizens are not clear on what exactly “Red Flag” bills are.

A Red Flag bill is a process that leads to gun confiscation when a family member (or person close to the gun owner) feels the gun owner is a threat to themselves or other people. It is commonly known as an “Extreme Risk Protection” order. The idea is to alert law enforcement of a gun owner who is a potential threat of violence to themselves and others.

A concerned individual could write a statement explaining why they feel a certain gun owner is a threat. It would then be reviewed by a judge and if it’s approved by the judge, an order of gun confiscation is given and the local law enforcement would seize the gun or guns from that individual. Under the bill, prior to the confiscation of guns, the gun owner is never notified that this action will be taken against them.

As a gun owner and strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I am vehemently against this type of legislation. It lends itself to abuse, retaliation against a gun owner and/or an outright lie that would lead to a undue stress and financial hardship without a crime being committed. Extreme Risk Protection orders deem the gun owner guilty until proven innocent, which is the exact opposite of how our justice system was designed.

Politicians who support this bill assure us that due process is in place for those who feel they are wrongly targeted as a threat to themselves or others. The due process they are referring to is an appeals process that could take up to a year and be very expensive for an individual who never committed a crime. The fact that a mere claim, without any factual basis, would cause a legal gun owner to have his or her firearms confiscated and undue financial hardship to prove themselves innocent is un-American and a direct violation of the Second Amendment.

Watch the video below for more information on “Red Flag” orders and why I feel this is not good for gun owners. Please share your thoughts and ideas of Extreme Risk Protection orders.

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