This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 14, 2019: 

Red flag laws are pernicious, not because they are evil (which they are), nor because they’re unconstitutional (which they are), nor because they don’t work (which they don’t). It’s because, says Missouri Representative Tony Lovasco, people who think about them (if they think about them at all) are certain they don’t apply to them. After all, who in their right mind would even dream of shooting up a Walmart?

Lovasco (R-Mo.), writing in The Hill, exposed the danger of the thinking by law-abiding citizens that such laws could never apply to them: “Proponents of gun control (and make no mistake, red flag laws are gun control) want you to think, ‘I’m not like them. This isn’t about me.’ But you are like them, and it is about you. It’s about everyone.”

Every American citizen, gun owner or not, has unalienable rights, wrote Lovasco: “The right to face your accuser. The right to due process. The right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Every one of these rights is explicitly violated under red flag laws.”

Added Lovasco:

Such laws often allow a judge to issue an order of confiscation “ex parte,” meaning without you [being] present. Because it’s a civil process, you aren’t entitled to a public defender, or even afforded the opportunity to defend yourself.

 

Once a protective order is issued, law enforcement [officers] are dispatched to search your property and seize your weapons – without criminal charges ever being filed, or even probable cause that an actual crime has been committed.

 

To make matters worse, Red Flag hearings can be adjudicated based on uncorroborated claims made by a single individual. Perhaps it’s an angry spouse, jealous co-worker, or disgruntled neighbor. All it takes is for someone to make a convincing argument that you are a danger to yourself or others, and your property is taken from you and you lose your right to defend yourself.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) joined with John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, to expose Colorado’s recently enacted red flag law. Under that law, “anyone at all can make a phone call to the police. They don’t even have to be living in the state. There is no hearing. All the judge has before him is the statement of concern.”

Red flag laws have nothing to do with mental health. Only one of the seventeen states now inflicting red flag laws on their citizens even uses the term. Wrote Massie and Lott: “It’s about figuring out who is going to commit a crime (or suicide). This is the realm of science fiction.”

It’s also the theme of Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Minority Report, wherein three “precogs” predict the future criminal behaviors of suspects. Viewers will remember it did not end well.

The Fourth Amendment bar demanding “probable cause” has been lowered to almost no bar at all. As Massie and Lott noted, “Little certainty is needed. Initial confiscations often require just a ‘reasonable suspicion’ which is little more than a guess or a hunch.” In addition, red flag laws typically make no provisions to cover the legal costs incurred by the victim (not suspect) and so many charged will not be able to have an attorney assist them.

Finally, wrote Massie and Lott: “It has always been possible to take away someone’s guns, but all 50 states have required testimony by a mental-health expert before a judge. Under red flag laws, however, expert testimony will no longer be used.” In addition, “Gun-control advocates argue that it’s essential not even to alert the person that his guns may be taken away. Hence, the 5 A.M. police raids.”

Red flag laws don’t work. That’s the conclusion Lott came to in a study he and a professor at the College of William and Mary published last December. After reviewing data from 1970 through 2017, they concluded that “Red flag laws had no significant effect on murder, suicide, the number of people killed in mass public shootings, robbery, aggravated assault, or burglary … these laws apparently do not save lives.”

Perhaps most impressive are the questions raised and insights offered by Alan Dershowitz, retired Harvard professor and no friend of either the Second Amendment or President Trump. But he has not let either personal opinion sway his view of the Constitution’s protection of precious God-given rights. Although he campaigned against Trump in 2016, he defended the president in his book The Case Against Impeaching Trump. He also argued against the Democrats’ investigations into the president, including the Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.

He asked, “How many law-abiding people are we prepared to deprive of guns to prevent even one mass shooting?” He asked, “Can the government deprive a citizen of a constitutional right based on a prediction?” He asked, “If the government can take your guns based on a prediction today, what will stop it from taking your liberty based on a prediction tomorrow?”

These are not “far-fetched” concerns. He noted that the federal government, under a presidential executive order, “detained more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II based on wildly exaggerated predictions of sabotage.”

Therefore, wrote Dershowitz, “We should be careful about denying individual rights based on questionable predictions … when government starts taking away some rights in the interest of safety, all rights are at risk.”

Thinking that red flag laws don’t apply to them, most Americans forget German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller’s confession under Hitler:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist.

 

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist.

 

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist.

 

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.

 

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

 

Sources:

Townhall.comRaising a Black Flag Against Red Flag Laws

TheHill.com‘Red flag laws’ violate more than just gun rights

Background on Tony Lovasco

National Review‘Red Flag’ Laws Are the Wrong Solution to Mass Shooting s

The Wall Street JournalA Yellow Light for Red-Flag Laws

Minority Report – the film

Lott’s Study: Do Red Flag Laws Save Lives or Reduce Crime?

Background on Alan Dershowitz

Internment of Japanese Americans during WWII

Martin Neimoller quote

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