If you’ve been wondering why the gun control debate has gone quiet in recent months it isn’t because the Left has given up trying to revoke your right to self-preservation. It’s because they have realized that pushing for the curtailment of gun rights overtly is a losing battle, and they have taken their war against safety underground.
Currently, the battlefront for gun rights is being fought over what is called “Red Flag Laws.” Red Flag Laws are laws set up in states and counties which make it possible for anonymous complainants to alert a judge or magistrate of perceived danger- and to call upon law enforcement to seize the guns of any person believed to present a perceived danger.
The key word here is ‘perceived,’ because these red flag laws are deeply subjective and are a direct and subversive attack on due process.
The foundational law of our nation enshrines the notion of due process. This means that before any governmental body can be allowed to deprive a citizen of their property, freedom, or life they must complete and adhere to the due process of law. This means they must obtain and show credible evidence which makes it clear that there is good reason to believe that the citizen in question has committed or intends to commit a crime. Until these criteria are met it is unconstitutional (read: illegal) to sanction a person in any way.
Red Flag Laws do away with due process. They make it possible for law enforcement to be directed to seize the property of an individual based on nothing but the professed concern of an anonymous citizen.
Consider the following scenario; an elderly woman living alone in a neighborhood that has been declining in socioeconomic value hears a sound that frightens her. She assumes that the long-haired teenager living next door made the sound and that it was a shotgun that was discharged in an irresponsible manner. That elderly women, can call 911 and report her suspicion. Based on that call, any firearms owned by her neighbor can be seized until the completion of an investigation.
That’s what red flag laws are. If your aunt Deidre decided she thinks deer hunting is too dangerous, she can call the cops and have your .22 rifle taken away.
We hope we have been clear.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. These laws have been being rolled out with expressed rapidity in recent months. About the last time the average person heard a tweet from David Hogg, that’s about the time they started shoving these laws up the queue in state and county jurisdictions. And we can say unequivocally, that these laws are unconstitutional (read: illegal) that is to say, they violate the deeply constitutional standard of due process.
And as it turns out, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) actually agrees with gun rights activists and the NRA on this point. The ACLU says, that these red flag laws are unconstitutional.
Yeah, we’re as surprised you are.
Right now, Red Flag proposals are being considered in Pittsburgh as a response to the recent shooting at a Jewish synagogue. Proponents of the idea believe that Red Flag laws could stop similar shootings from taking place.
But the ACLU has taken sides with the likes of the NRA saying that it is wrong to legalize the unconstitutional seizure of firearms based on the suspicions of anonymous citizens.
Not all of the implicated possibilities were discussed before the general assembly. But those in attendance seemed to understand that Red Flag Laws place every citizen at the mercy of every other. Anyone, the insane, the senile, the criminal, or the congenitally dyspeptic could at any time and without good reason come to believe that his or her neighbor might have firearms and have bad ideas about how to use them.
This is exactly the sort of thing that our finest laws are meant to prevent- the tyranny of the worrier over everyone else. And the ACLU has linked arms with the NRA in defending the rights of decent people to be free from the fretful imaginations of those with querulous imaginations.
An ACLU memo on the hearing reads, “As well-intentioned as this legislation is, its breadth and its lenient standards for both petitioning for and granting an ERPO are cause for concern. People not charged with a crime should not be subject to undue deprivations of liberty interests in the absence of a clear, compelling, and immediate showing of need.”
We think this is cause for celebration, as it turns out, not everyone on the Left is bat-shit crazy.