Kangaroo Courts and PAWS

red flag

By Dennis Petrocelli, MD. August 28, 2019

I recently joined my fellow Virginian defenders of the Second Amendment and testified before the Virginia Crime Commission. Its legislators and official appointees will review the gun control bills advanced in response to the Virginia Beach mass murder and offer its recommendations to the General Assembly when it re-convenes this fall.

I focused on the red flag law for three reasons:

  • It infringes on a host of rights: weapons are confiscated after a hearing where the respondents are not present, and therefore do not know the evidence against them, nor have the opportunity to confront their accusers;
  • These laws have been mischaracterized as having supporting evidence of reducing suicides and homicides, when in fact there is none that withstands any scrutiny;
  • Such bills do the opposite of what I've been trained to do as a forensic psychiatrist: respect fellow citizens by using scientifically rigorous methods of risk assessment.

I testified that none of the red flag bills being considered provide for treating respondents "with even a modicum of respect, which is to have a risk assessment method that passes some form of rules of evidence. Only a 'kangaroo court' would accept the 'I know it when I see it' standard of dangerousness to confiscate weapons." ........


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