When Americans turn on the news one of our worst nightmares is to hear of another mass shooting. Our hearts are broken by the needless loss of life and everybody wants so desperately to do something, anything, to stop this from ever happening to another innocent soul again, myself included. But the phony political debates that immediately follow like clockwork do absolutely nothing to help, in fact, it is my opinion they only help to make things worse, possibly much worse.
Today in the arena of debate, enter “Red Flag Laws” which support the idea of allowing law enforcement agencies to get a court order to remove guns from people considered to be a harm to themselves or others. This has some people asking, so what is wrong with being able to take away the guns of what seems to be a troubled person?
Well, in a perfect utopian world I would have to say nothing. However, the last I checked we don’t live in that perfect world. In fact, if you have been paying attention to the impeachment hearings of late you can see that the world we actually do live in is a place where even our highest and most trusted law enforcement agencies can and do go rouge based on political bias, partisanship and secret agendas of those holding the power.
So, if one can understand this then the state-level experimentations with “red flag” laws should be a red flag within themselves to all Americans to take a hard look at how this will actually affect them as citizens before handing over this kind of power to our state and federal governments.
Those in support of these laws would like us to abandon or at least forget the cornerstone of what America’s legal system is founded on which is the guarantee of “due process”. And that this must occur prior to the government whether state or federal, to be able to infringe upon any of our legal rights. Without due process can we are only left to guess at what standards a Democrat-led Justice Departments and, worse, progressive judges, apply if they had unfettered control?
The red flag laws we are seeing pop up around the country including the two new bills introduced into the Az Senate by my opponent are intended to crush the corner stone of due process and at best pretend to appear as if they are just trying to skirt around it, for our “own good” of course.
Targets of the proposed gun confiscation orders are often oblivious to the fact that they have even been petitioned let alone have any inkling that an order has been issued against them. This makes it so defendants often times miss their own hearings and thus cannot even defend themselves.
Once we grant the power to confiscate firearms from our citizens who are neither charged of a crime nor diagnosed with any mental health issues where is our guarantee that government officials will not abuse this over reach of power? With the Democrats recent hard turn to Socialism and communism this should raise some serious questions and concerns as these “red flag” laws are not intended to curb violence. They are not capable of doing so because all they are doing is limiting an item, your gun, not a behavior.
So, what if anything can be done about a person who is displaying a behavior that is concerning? Glad you asked! Here in Arizona there is already a law in place that allows a judge to issue a temporary order for hospitalization of a person that appears to need observation while keeping his rights intact. ARS 360-520 is a procedure that allows a person to be subjected to an involuntary psychiatric evaluation. Why then would we need a red flag law if we already have a law on the books to help with this issue while respecting the rights of the individual? The answer is simple. ARS 360-520 is about treating a patient and protecting lives not about confiscating firearms. You can read it about it here https://www.azleg.gov/ars/36/00520.htm
Now while quite a few people I have spoken to understand how this would affect our Second Amendment, far too many still don’t recognize the deeper implications and how it will almost neuter the Bill of Rights as a whole. Six out of the 10 bill of rights are severely damaged by “red flag” laws. Let’s take a look at the following on how “red flag” laws will deliver a devasting blow to these rights and our judicial system.
First Amendment – Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” “Red flag” laws encourage police-led searches on such things as our social media. This is a violation of freedom of speech and/or press. If those in power find something that is disagreeable to them, they can then label it as “hate” speech and therefor can potentially claim they have cause to remove one’s weapons and as an added bonus chill the free speech of many of whom they disagree with. When free speech, press, assembly and religion end Liberty ends as well.
Second Amendment – The Right to Bear Arms
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Our Second Amendment was designed to protect our First Amendment by giving people the ability to resist a tyrannical government and the way our founders wrote the second amendment states that any law either state or federal which threatens the second amendment is unconstitutional. Many states are already creating such laws which violate “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, and shall not be infringed.” “Red flag” laws could allow for the punishing of countless innocent citizens upon only a fear that they may commit a crime. It will make it so anybody regardless of motive will have equal access to a judge and be able to claim that someone is a danger to themselves and others. Those identified are punished without even having committed a crime as the sheriff is dispatched to disarm and confiscate the individual’s weapons and hold for mental evaluation. All without a trace of evidence of any wrong doing.
Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” How would you like to wake up one morning to police officers demanding entry to your home and being able to go through your computers, phones and anything else they deem necessary because somebody (you probably won’t know who) told them you might be a threat without a shred of probable cause? Probable cause used to mean that there was evidence of someone actually having done something, not just somebody’s conjecture that somebody may do something. These red flag laws take this even further by allowing the confiscation of personal property again based on an assumption that they may be used inappropriately. This goes against the oath of office our police, sheriffs and other government agents have sworn their allegiance to. They are going against their vow to protect, serve and uphold the Constitution. The red flag laws put our law enforcement at odds against the very people they are meant to serve and protect.
Fifth Amendment – Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Prosperity.
“ No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public dander; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Red flag laws deny due process. These laws allow gun confiscation prior to being charged with a crime, arrested or convicted. Without due process all of our rights and properties are unsecured plain and simple.
Sixth Amendment – Rights of Accused Persons in Criminal Cases
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witness in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Red flag laws accuse and administer punishment much like criminal prosecutions except in these cases they are speedy yet not public, they do not allow for the accused to confront the accuser, they do not allow for the obtaining of witnesses or counsel for the defense of the accused prior to confiscation. And may we also ask, where is the impartial jury we are guaranteed by our rights as Americans? This makes the whole notion of these laws unconstitutional.
Seventh Amendment – Rights in Civil Cases
“In suites of common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.” Obviously, dollar values have changed but the key messages here are this; Under common law, which is so important to our principles of justice it is mentioned twice, we are entitled to a trial by jury of our peers when it comes to property rather than allowing only a judge to make rulings on the matter. Red flag laws omit the jury and confiscate property flying again in the face of our rights.
The “red flag” proponents are doing a great job at convincing many Americans that red flag laws are intended to limit what a mentally ill person can do to harm himself and others yet they do nothing to come up with solutions to help the mentally ill and address the mental health crisis we are facing as a nation. A crisis that has been brought about through attacks on American culture, the basic values we were founded on and our rudimentary human rights. This attack is all part of an agenda being perpetrated by a panicked and angry left along with their lap dog rage filled media machine as they desperately try to hold on to their power at the cost of life and human dignity. But perhaps this will be the topic of another blog.
Red Flag Laws Serve as a Red FlagIf those that want to push these “red flag” laws were sincere in wanting to end gun violence by the mentally ill they would put more emphasis on treating mental illness but hopefully you can see now these laws are only intended to curb gun ownership and they can only do so by gutting our Bill of Rights with these horrific laws.
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