Red Flags About 'Red Flag' Laws

By Nate Jackson. April 2, 2019

"Red flag" laws have become all the rage these days among those who want to do something -- anything -- to stop "gun violence." Sometimes called Gun Violence Restraining Orders or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, these laws allow family, close friends, or coworkers to petition authorities to temporarily remove firearms from individuals they believe are a danger to themselves or others. Colorado is set to join the list of states enacting such laws.

If -- and it's a big IF -- due-process rights are protected, we and other conservatives have acknowledged that, in concept, the idea has some merit because of how many red flags mass murderers tend to display. As our own Robin Smith wrote last year, such orders "empower individuals closest to a potential threat to intervene rather than waiting on layers of systems that ... have failed." National Review's David French also argued last year, "The GVRO is consistent with and recognizes both the inherent right of self-defense and the inherent right of due process. It is not collective punishment. It is precisely targeted."

In other words, rather than banning entire classes of guns or infringing on the rights of all citizens, focusing attention at potentially dangerous individuals is preferable, right? .....

It is the potential overlap between a genuine firearms seizure from a dangerous individual, and the grey area where good people are unjustly targeted that makes this law without due process so dangerous. "Take the guns first, go through due process second." The possibility of a "No-Knock" gone wrong for whatever reason is more than feasible in any situation, but the more so when it is innocents on the receiving end of having guns taken. This law is wide open to abuse.


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