Red Flag Laws: The Latest Anti-Gun Scheme

By: José Niño
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Gun control may be coming to a legislature near you.

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, shootings, elected officials on both sides of the political aisle are rallying around “red flag” legislation.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), informally known as red flag laws, are gaining traction in legislatures nationwide. Red flag laws are presented as a common-sense proposal to disarm people who allegedly present a danger to themselves or others around them.

Political leaders assure gun owners red flag laws won’t trample over civil liberties and are a middle ground solution that appease pro-gunners and gun controllers alike. But the devil is in the details when dealing with any form of government intervention.

The Potential Threat of Red Flag Laws

In Gunpowder Magazine, Ted Patterson details the potential dangers of “red flag” laws. Four points stick out the most:

1. Due process rights are put on the chopping block.

Anti-gun family members, friends, or acquaintances can levy dubious accusations to justify the confiscation of law-abiding gun owners’ guns. They can take these accusations to a court of law, even if the individual in question was not charged or convicted of a crime. In turn, due process rights are turned upside down, as gun owners are presumed to be guilty and must then prove their innocence.

2. Indefinite time frames for gun confiscation.

The duration of ERPOs is unclear — which could end up being weeks, months, or even a year. Gun owners would then be forced to go to court multiple times just to win their Constitutional rights back.

3. Red Flag Laws have Bipartisan Support

What makes red flag laws even more dangerous is the bipartisan support they currently boast. It is no secret when both parties come together on legislative matters, nothing good can come out of it.

Political insiders constantly remind us that Republicans are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. They contend Republicans play a pivotal role in defending our gun rights, and any criticism directed toward them is unjustified.

But nothing could be further from the truth. A Republican governor in Maryland recently signed a red flag bill into law, while Republicans in states like Colorado and Pennsylvania have actively pushed red flag bills of their own.

Lawmakers under the impression that compromising on red flag laws will curtail further gun control attempts, are in for a rude awakening. The nature of the government beast is to expand.

Economist Ludwig von Mises recognized full well how interventionism is “illogical and unsuitable, as it can never attain what its champions and authors hope to attain.” Once the regulations fail, the political class will clamor for even more regulations to “fix” the problems they ironically created in the first place.

This has been on display in sectors such as healthcare. Under the banner of “compassionate conservatism,” George W. Bush signed Medicare, Part D into law — the largest welfare expansion since Medicare was originally established in 1965.

Even with the passage of Medicare, Part D, healthcare interventionists were still not satisfied. Once Democrats returned to power with significant majorities in both chambers of Congress, then President Barack Obama passed a hefty piece of government intervention in Obamacare with ease.

We can expect the same dynamic to occur if politicians start kowtowing to red flag laws. The recent passage of Fix NICS is already a troubling development.

At this point in the game, it may behoove gun rights activists to start shifting their focus toward decentralization and fight for expanding gun rights in their own backyards instead of looking for Washington to change its ways.

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