I am very concerned about knee-jerk “red flag laws,” a/k/a ERPOs, or Extreme Risk Protection Orders.  All the suggested ones I’ve seen so far are so poorly written they’re dangerous.  I explained why here last month.  A couple of entries ago, I shared a link in which pro-Second Amendment attorneys gave pretty much unanimous advice that if police came to serve such an order on one of us, the best advice was to not resist and seek legal redress.

I shared a link in which pro-Second Amendment attorneys gave pretty much unanimous advice that if police came to serve such an order on one of us, the best advice was to not resist and seek legal redress.

If you read the comments in the latter, you’ll see that it resulted in a crap storm.  Now, as the guy who’s been writing this blog for a decade, it may be time for me to explain some things.

Opposing views are encouraged here. They nourish meaningful dialogue.  The folks who called me a boob and all that are still welcome to comment here.  As the moderator, I only have to remove about one reader comment every two or three months, and that’s usually for viciously attacking another commenter.  (I post this stuff, so I’m fair game. Guests in my house are welcome to disagree, but not to make nasty personal attacks on each other.)  On rare occasions I have to delete for F-bombs, and a VERY few times I’ve had to because the guy who wrote the comment was simply bat-feces crazy.  And I can still count on my fingers the number of people I’ve banned here in over a decade and have some digits left over.

I’ve already had to delete multiple comments and ban multiple posters in the “If the Police Come for Your Guns” comment thread.


First, if you write the suggestion that people should murder the families of police to intimidate them, you are not wanted here. The kind of person who says that is the kind of person who needs to have their weapons confiscated.

Second, if you pound your chest and claim you’ll shoot people you KNOW are police serving a warrant that you don’t like because your interpretation of the law is different from the judge’s, you’re a damn fool and anyone stupid enough to follow your advice would get killed like you will in a gunfight you could have avoided, a gunfight in which your loved ones are in the line of fire.  That’s why all those lawyers in that link said to work it out in court.

Third – and this is mainly for the first-time, drive-by commenters who heard about my blog on someone else’s, got pissed, and obviously never read what I wrote, nor the link therein – understand that when you literally don’t know what you’re talking about, what you say is meaningless.

Fourth, think context. We’re not talking about Red Dawn here, or a reincarnation of some real-life Johnny Tremaine fighting the redcoats. We have been talking about potential abuse of poorly written red flag laws, to wit, some snowflake, stalker, or harasser making a false complaint that results in a warrant.  You will probably have a damn good idea who that is, and if you follow the advice of the lawyers in the earlier link, either the police or your attorney’s investigator will find out the truth and things will be squared away. If you tell people to start shooting under those circumstances, you’re either an anti-gunner trying to damage gun owners’ civil rights or have become an unwitting puppet of same.  What will win this will be common sense presented to the lawmakers and the public to prevent onerous laws from being enacted in the first place.

Second Amendment and First are still celebrated here.  But so is critical thinking, common sense, and knowing what the hell one is talking about.


  1. “are so poorly written they’re dangerous.” YEP.

    Trying to figure out life threatening safety regulations by trial and error most often leads to almost more error than trial (vis a vis all the lethal response comments).

    Everybody, especially knee jerking legislators, need to slow down, take several deep breaths and think it out.

    In the meantime, if you feel so strongly about your rights it might behoove to get deeply involved with your representatives before going all John Wick. Kind of like situational awareness, some things are best avoided.

  2. More golden advice from the author of “In the Gravest Extreme” (Book 1 of the Self Dedense Bible).

    Thanks Mas!

  3. Second Amendment discussions tend to elicit the most impassioned, careless reactions from some people who quite possibly may need psychological counseling, particularly those who claim they’ll shoot it out with cops who have “red flag” search warrants for firearms.

    In my own experience, when I’ve merely commented on blogs that the manner in which the Second Amendment was composed, well over two hundred years ago, presently allows conflicting interpretations of the right to bear arms has resulted in vicious (and typically ungrammatical) ad hominen attacks on your truly.

    Some folks need to grow up.

  4. Ok, I’ll ask. How do we get the red flag laws changed sour 4th amendment rights are restored with regards to the red flag laws

    • Only way is to work within the system. It won’t be easy or quick. It took a local group 6 years to get a helmet law changed. When, not if, they pass the “Red Flag” here in Hawaii, I very much doubt any resistance will see the light of day. Hopefully others will have a better chance.

  5. Good post, Mas. After seeing some of the comments about your earlier posting, I had the following thought. While I really admire the passion of those who made what I consider to be unfortunate comments, I would ask how many of them have worked just as passionately with their local rifle and pistol associations and the NRA before those laws are passed to stop them from being enabled in the first place?

  6. I certainly agree with the attorneys that advise compliance if the police come to take your guns. If you resist, they will shoot you and take them anyway. If you can hold off the officers that are there, they will call in the SWAT team. They are going to win. It’s hard to seek legal redress from your grave.

    • Perfectly said. We taught our children, long before they started driving, to always pull over and take the ticket politely. Then you can have your day in court. There’s never any sense in resisting a preponderance of force.

  7. HELLO I live In a very LIBERAL STATE WA. THEY made us buy “GUN SAFE ” OK it is a good ID “BUT” your house is lock up ! BUT they make it like it your fault they steal your “GUNS” ! SO far WE can get a WA.CCP here how long ????? I do carry a “SPRINGFILD SUBCOMPACK V10 in 45 ACP does very good !

    • I live in WA also. Here’s a summary of the law.
      It doesn’t mandate that firearms owners lock their guns away. But owners could be charged under those community-endangerment crimes if someone not allowed to access a firearm — such as a child or a felon — gets ahold of it and displays it publicly, causes it to discharge or uses it in a crime.

      Owners who keep a gun secured in a safe or lock box, or with a trigger lock or similar device, would not be subject to charges if the firearm is somehow accessed by someone who shouldn’t have it. The community-endangerment charges also don’t apply if a prohibited person obtains a gun due to unlawful entry, as long as the gun owner reports the incident within five days of the time he or she knew or should have known it occurred.

  8. The last I saw, the discussions on that blog were going downhill. The biggest take home I’m seeing is that good intentioned procedures are, possibly, being hijacked by ill intentioned people. The last thing we should do is give those ill intentioned people even more credibility. In searching sites such as Quora, there are tons of baited questions on gun control that attempt to portray us and the US as being barbaric and backwards. Look at some of the posts from “regulars” who answer these questions in a very calm and sane way. The contention is that Quora is very pro-gun and second amendment. We need to work to get the EPOS eliminated or changed to some form that allows due process and could, possibly, be helpful.

  9. Dear Mr.Ayoob,I have studied every bit of your advice since first becoming aware of you way back in 1983.As for me,and having gone through a similar experience, prior to red flag laws.I know you’re absolutely correctwhile it’s no easy thing to be lied about,imprisoned wrongly,and having to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to clear oneself. It is our legal system and still the best aroundThank you for sounding the alarm and being a guide through these especially troubled times.My prayers are for you,Cat and the Evil Princesses health,happiness and well being,Semper Fidelis!Ray.

  10. Simply reading today’s local news shows that there are many folks who can’t be trusted with weapons when they get emotional (3 neighbors dead). All of our rights are subject to adjustments based on the real world. I have no issues with the Sheriff checking out the mental health facilities as part of my concealed carry review and I guess those who do object may have good reasons to object.

    • If I can’t trust someone with a gun, neither can I trust him without one. Then, unless he is even smaller and weaker than I am, I need a gun of my own.

      • Kendahl,

        True. Within the past few months, there was a report about someone killing three people with a hammer. The Boston Bombers killed two people with two bombs at a crowded Marathon footrace. Can’t trust a bad man with a hammer.

  11. If such laws pass, the best thing you can do is move somewhere where you’re sufficiently far away from neighbors. It’ll be final proof that the rule of law is dead and buried. If anyone in your proximity can with a phone call have your property confiscated prior to having your day in court, the law is defective on its face.

    I still wouldn’t recommend resisting the police; it’s unlikely to end well. But frankly, if revolution was justified against George III, it’s been more than justified for decades against the US government. Again, unlikely to end well if you were to try because there isn’t enough popular support for such action.

    Also, time to buy 80% lowers and some parts in cash. Make certain you have weapons hidden that the government doesn’t know about.

  12. As concern escalates about the passage and potential enforcement outcomes of ERPOs at the state level, it is more important than ever for American gun owners to remember that the rabid anti-gunners of the Left will emerge victorious if they are successful in driving a wedge between American citizens who own guns and American LE officers who work diligently each day and night to keep criminals from harming innocents. It drives the anti-gunners nuts when American gun owners and American LE officers stand united and strengthen alliances in the face of enormous political pressure from the Left to create disharmony and division.

    As a Cold War era Army MI officer and 100% disabled veteran, I implore all fellow American gun owners to take deep breaths and comprehend the wondrous reality that American LE officers are NOT the DGI, the GRU, the KGB, the Securitate or the Stasi.

    We are truly blessed as Americans to live in a land where LE officers do not turn guns against us simply because we own guns. Such is life in Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela and in other communist socialist “paradises” scattered around the world, but the USA still remains the destination of choice for oppressed people who yearn to live free from fear of being crushed by the boots of tyrants.

    Before other commenters accuse me of not understanding the threat posed by ERPOs, let me state that my next door neighbor, a Bernie Bro who loudly and openly despises guns, gun owners and the NRA, has advised me that he would gleefully report to authorities as “dangerous” anyone who owned an AR-15, any “assault rifle” or high capacity magazines. You guessed it. This specific Bernie Bro has no clue that I am everything that he deplores. He has no idea that I own firearms. He has no idea that I carry a lawfully concealed handgun. He has no idea that I am a proud NRA member. My truck’s exterior tells no pro-RKBA tales. Nor does my mouth when it opens to speak carefully considered words. The delicious irony here is that the many local, county and state LE officers who know me personally view me as valued back up “in extremis” while they view my Bernie Bro neighbor as an annoying, anti-LE horse’s ass whose hysterical rants are totally without merit.

    I would suggest the following to my fellow American gun owners who are now speaking intemperately about “fighting it out” with American LE officers who might show up in the future at the front door with an ERPO warrant in hand. Turn the full force of your bona fide frustration not into violent action but instead into a 24 x 7 x 365 all out intellectual effort to destroy both the political efficacy and the social credibility of any and all false accusers who have recklessly used an ERPO in an effort to deprive you of access to your lawfully owned firearms on a temporary basis. If you cannot find legal counsel to represent you on a pro bono basis, do not whine. Take the pro se highway and keep to the left in the high speed lane. Let nothing whatsoever deter you until you have achieved your desired results. From personal experience, I can assure you that calm, composed, relentless presentation of irrefutable fact and truth to federal judges is a winning strategy. Most importantly, by taking this deliberate path, not only will you end up defeating anti-gunners who sought unwisely to disarm you on a permanent basis, but you will have set a powerful, positive example for your gun owning children and grandchildren to emulate in the years ahead.

    • Hmmm… T’would seem your Bernie Bro sidekick is suffering from (enjoying?) bit oF PROJECTION…… Glad to hear the LE know you, and him, and know which one they trust. And that that ain’t HIM.

      You are correct… puts me in mind of two quotes from well known people from long ago:

      Seak sofly and carry a big stiuk

      A soft answer turns away wrath

      Most times, calmly wending one’s way in obscurity leads to covering far more ground in the end.

  13. Sorry Mas,
    You had to waste your valuable time and energy defending logic and common sense. We all know the first two amendments depend on each other, one cannot survive without the other.

    Thank You for all you do!!


  14. Well put Mas, common sense is definitely good advice to follow. I have read most of your books and reading your columns in gun magazines for years. I am glad that you are doing a great service for all of us who follow the law, but still believe in our second amendment rights.

  15. So here’s a counter narrative to all those who want to fight it out with the LEO’s performing their sworn duty. (I know many will argue a violation to our 2A rights are against the law, and cops can’t enforce illegal laws as that would be a violation of the sworn the oath they took, but…)


    Given the nature of a LEO’s duties, it is easy to see, COPS are human too? Given the information in the provided link and a few other links I have listed here concerning the topic, PTSD is suspected/present in many of those who have been issued the ERPO as well as other mental disorders, yes?

    So now, consider folks here like me who live within the acronym, POGO (pants on gun on) who for whatever reason is issued an ERPO. Consider, one of the officers who are assigned to confiscate based on the orders, has even the slightest degree of PTSD and overreacts to the civilians armed presence. Even though the person is 110% compliant and cooperative. Consider, once the subject is adjudicated and cleared, found to be competent and retrieves his property, should he then in turn, declare an ERPO on that officer who overreacted? Hmm. And yes, I do know a few in blue who have been on the job too long…

    Stay safe.

  16. I had a long comment in process.

    Then I realized Mas, you said most all one needs to hear or say.

    I worry too much as it is. It would suck getting falsely Red Flagged (essentially legally SWATed). Unlikely though, just as the need to use a firearm in self defense. Probably nearly as frustrating as the aftermath of a lawful self defense. Still, unlikely (YMMV depending on where you live).

    It is however different than say, widespread door to door gun confiscation. One does ultimately get due process. Unfortunately, after a violation of rights.

    I do worry about potential injury (self, others), property damage, and costs. I also worry that bad actors in such a process may not be held accountable (for criminal & civil liabilies). Consequences matter.

    The same can be said for anything in life. Carry on. Be aware & educated. Be mature. Use your head, not your emotions.

    Emotional maturity will get the best result possible.

    Hang in there Mas. We appreciate your maturity, you levelheaded analysis and your expertise.

  17. “First, if you write the suggestion that people should murder the families of police to intimidate them, you are not wanted here. The kind of person who says that is the kind of person who needs to have their weapons confiscated.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote in today’s blog entry. I decided to quote the particular above paragraph of yours from today’s blog entry again, because it is just. so. dang. good.

  18. Mr. Ayoob, Thank you for your wisdom and steady hand an the wheel. As I sifted through the tons of on line content when beginning my legally armed status you stood out immediately and consistently as a go-to source of good solid information. I still seek out your words of wisdom on line and from your books. I admit to being surprised at your words of immediate compliance but as much of a horse pill as that was to swallow I had to first realized the source. Unwavering, methodical and with an eye on the distant goals as usual. Please keep us up to date. Your input helps keep us on the right track.

  19. Law-enforcement is in a tough spot, these days. The Left has always hated the police. They have always painted the police as “racist” and as tools for “The Man”. All you have to do is look at the actions of Black Lives Matter and then note the fact that it is becoming a “Plank” of the Democratic Party to abolish ICE to see that this is still true.

    For a long time, Conservatives were among the strongest friends of the Police and Law-enforcement. However, the Obama Administration so corrupted the upper levels of the Justice Department and the FBI, that this support is being undermined. Conservatives see that, under the Obama Administration (and current Deep-State actors) and in the Blue States, a two-tiered Justice System has developed. In many cases, crimes committed by well-connected Democrats are not even being investigated. Even if they are investigated and evidence of wrong-doing is plainly established (Hillary Clinton’s Email Server, Jussie Smollet, etc.), someone in the so-called “Justice System” will leap to clear them with nothing more than a “slap on the wrist”.

    Meanwhile, Conservatives are being hounded and jailed for “Process Crimes”. In many cases, no crime occurred at all and the so-called “Justice System” is being used as a political tool to smear and attack Conservatives without cause. The entire “Russia Hoax” attack on President Trump is a case in point.

    It is well to keep in mind that “Justice” does not come from a “Justice System”. Justice comes from The People. The People fashioned the Justice System to administer Justice impartially and fairly. There is a reason that Justice is depicted as a Woman with a Blindfold and a Pair of Scales. That Blindfold is more than just a symbol. It is her certificate of authority from The People. If she takes off her Blindfold and then bends over to become a Prostitute for the Democratic Party and their Media Propaganda Machine, her authority is gone. Conservatives have never had much respect for a whore.

    In today’s politically-charged climate, there is a great danger that the Police will end up being hated by both sides. They may end up getting caught between the “Hammer and the Anvil”. The only way to avoid it is for the Police and Law-enforcement to “Walk the Straight and Narrow”. They must:

    1) Cling to the Constitution. They must not enforce unconstitutional laws that are placed on the books in order to support a particular political agenda.
    2) They must wear the Blindfold. They must enforce the law evenhandedly against everybody. They must be unbending to political and media pressure.
    3) They must use fair Scales. The law must be applied equally to all. No super harsh punishments for one side while the other side skates “Scot Free”.

    An incredible amount of damage has been done to the reputation of law-enforcement. The reputation that the FBI worked for decades to build has been tarnished badly in just the last five years. The anger and frustration displayed in the previous blog on “Red Flag” laws is not just a bunch of “Neanderthals beating their Chests”. It represents a real and rising tide of anger and disappointment with law-enforcement in Today’s America.

    Respect for Law-enforcement is not automatically given by The People. Law-enforcement MUST earn that respect by using the Blindfold and Scales honestly. Mas, I know that you love the Profession of Law-Enforcement. However, it is time for Law-Enforcement to own up to their mistakes. If the Police will again “Walk the Straight and Narrow”, then respect for the profession will return to The People and you won’t have to listen to Conservatives thump their Chests and talk about shooting cops anymore.

    I can’t guarantee the same for the Leftists since I suspect that their hatred of the Police is eternal. However, to paraphrase the “Good Book”: Half a loaf is better than none.

  20. Well said sir. I have tremendous respect for you and all you’ve done. Always will even if I disagree. I’ll say your words give one pause. I’ll also say everyone has their line not to be crossed. Perhaps our comparative definition of the line in question would show we are not as far off as details would indicate. I’ll say “depends”, and leave it at that. Kudos, Mas.

  21. Mas,

    This blog entry highlights the reasons that I look forward to our comments on all subjects. Even in the Pro-2A community, your wisdom is head and shoulders above the crowd. Thank you!

  22. Right on Mass, Thanks for posting this . One thing we have to do is work together to fix this Red Flag law stuff , and try to educate the people who have no idea of what their talking about when it come`s to Gun`s and responsibly`s Again thank you Mass.

  23. Hi Mas,

    Two questions (that might make an interesting blog post):

    1. What can the average gun owner expect from an ERPO search warrant? I assume local jurisdictions will vary but I would guess most of us here have had zero experience with being served a warrant.

    2. How do responding officers determine ownership? Again I know local jurisdictions will affect this but as an example in Colorado my understanding is the ERPO only covers the named individual and not the household. So a spouse would in-theory be allowed to keep their firearms but how would this proceed?

    Thanks 🙂

  24. I’m moving to Mayberry, where it’s safe from power hungry, liberal gun grabbing bureaucrats and the police chief is a good and honest man, and I can mooch a piece of delicious homemade pie from Aunt Bee once in awhile.

    • Bro, Mayberry is now on meth… Get over the delusion you will be able to move away from the problem. You may be able to delay or reduce it, but not avoid it

  25. There are many “what if’s” to consider. I certainly agree with your general wise counsel. I’m not certain what reaction I’d have if overzealous persons kicked my door in at 4:00AM. I’m very concerned about life and liberty in this country after seeing the way things used to be. As you have said, the red flag laws are poorly written. I know at 69 years old I’m irrelevant to advertisers. Hopefully not to society in general. Thanks for all you have done and do.

  26. Question Number One: Can we get these ERPOs repealed?

    Question Number Two: Can the NRA and others convince police departments to ignore these laws?

    There are laws on the books that are not enforced. The intent of these ERPO laws is to prevent crime. If abused, these laws would create more crimes than they prevent. That would be an example of the law of unintended consequences.

    Prohibition’s aim was to prevent drunken fathers from ruining their families. It resulted in empowering the Mafia, an unintended consequence.

  27. Sorry you had to deal with all of that. You had either deleted it before I got there or I just blew past it as I often do with crazy. As always, your counsel is wise.

    ACLDN, with which I know you are affiliated, had an ask the lawyer column on this. Opinions varied widely whether these laws will be a seldom enforced nothing or whether they are a clear and present danger to due process. I would be interested in your opinion on that.

    The potential for bad things happening depends a lot on how the police handle these complaints. The 4am raid has a high potential for escalation especially if the subject is a victim of institutionalized SWATing and does not have any reason to believe that the people that are breaking down his door are police. On the other hand, if the police knock on the door and serve the order, that potentially puts them at risk if the subject is actually a lunatic. And the police don’t have any way of knowing which situation pertains. Do you have an opinion as to where the balance should be.

  28. I have some experience with these laws here in NY. Although the NY red flag law is new and to be honest I haven’t read it extensively, I have no doubt it is full of problems, our Governor is an idiot. I was a cop for over 2 decades here. Routinely, when an order of protection was issued by a judge against a spouse, if there was any violence or threat of violence, he issued an order requiring the police to temporarily remove all guns from the house. It was done literally hundreds of times and there was never an issue, and this was one small town in a county with over 50 agencies. We routinely went to the home, informed the occupants that we had an order to remove guns and were always able to do it without any problems. Was it nerve wracking when you knew the homeowner was a nut bag? Sure, but that’s what we get paid for, to deal with nut bags. Humor, a conversation, and a couple of cops being professional always seemed to work. No 3 am raids (not even any “O’dark thirty” raids!), no ninja suits, no screaming in the middle of the night, no pets killed, not even a witness (who are apparently “trouble for police”-oddly I kind of liked having witnesses to things) killed. Any SWAT team that goes at 3 am and starts breaking down doors for this needs to be shut down. Will it happen? Possibly. Will the law be abused? Yes, undoubtedly, just like all of the domestic violence laws that are abused by the “abused” party. That’s the way it is.
    Last point: ranting on a public forum (you know “they” can find out who you really are, right?) about how you’re going to kill the cops coming through your door and beating your chest about how much you don’t care and how no one is taking your guns without a fight is just the kind of thing that would probably open someone up to a red flagging. Ironic isn’t it?

  29. I can tell you in my state even the very pro gun lawmakers are wary of these laws, because they fear opening Pandora’s box. You should buy a good lawyer lunch (more than one is better), and have them explain it to you. They will all see it a little different, so more than one. Think about not having everything in one place. Any of us can be a new neighbor or ex away from this… 🙁

  30. ERPOs are a soft gun confiscation. Get folks used to the idea of giving up their 4th and 5th amendment rights because they own a gun. Next on the list is universal background checks establishing a full registry of legal ownership. More than half the counties in NM and CO declared themselves 2nd amendment sanctuaries due to these unlawful laws, but elections can change that very quickly. LEOs have to make a choice, are they part of the people being oppressed by these ERPOs, or are they the oppressors and enforcers of obviously unjust and unconstitutional measures. Just ask, what crime is suspected justifying the warrant for an ERPO? In CO they created a new “warrant”, calling it a “civil warrant” to try and bypass the 4th and 5th amendments, civil vs criminal, pre-crime vs crime. Will LEOs let the left turn them into the new Gestapo, just following orders, soldiers against the people? I predict that is the unfortunate and most likely outcome for many LEOs. Any LEOs here care to disagree? Will you enforce these unlawful laws or just follow orders? LEOs were filmed unlawfully confiscating arms after Katrina, just following orders, precedent exists for the behavior.

  31. Mas,
    I had to go back and read what I had written in response to your first post about these red flag orders. I must admit that I was not as coherent as I should have been. You are absolutely right about the proper way to protest an individual red flag order, that being through the legal channels, and not through armed resistance.
    I was unfortunately allowing my disgust with the entire issue with what the government is attempting to do with our 2nd amendment rights interfere with logic. For that, I must first apologize and second, thank you for your measured response.
    I assure you that I have no desire to engage in a gun battle with anyone, be it police, military, criminal elements, or others. I still can say that any attempt to begin gun confiscation on a large scale will be a different thing, and I will be certain that my family is in a different area when and if it should happen.
    So once again, you have shown yourself to be the voice of reason in a wilderness of anger and dare I say, lunacy. And for that, I thank you, and hope that others will also reconsider their immediate response to your first post. And I hope that I am not one who has ever made you feel the need to edit due to harsh language or downright illegal proposals. Thank you for your common sense, and for sharing it with the gun culture.

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