When pieces o’ feces like the one at Parkland wreak mass murders, we in the gun owners’ civil rights movement are the first to say, “We need psycho control, not gun control.” When so-called Red Flag laws are proposed that would disarm someone when damn near anyone says, “that person is crazy and dangerous,” we look like hypocrites when we say, “Wait a minute!”
But it’s not hypocrisy. We’re resistant because these proposals – at least all the ones I’ve seen – are too hastily written, and dangerously lacking in checks and balances.
“SWAT-ing” has become a thing. It’s a form of harassment in which the hater makes a false call to police claiming that some horrible crime is happening at the victim’s home, with the result that armed police in a high state of danger alert respond there. It has already caused tragic, unnecessary death. Long before this trend, bitter and hateful people were making false complaints to police and the courts: any experienced cop can confirm that, and so can any divorce lawyer who has practiced family law for any length of time.
Anti-gunners on Facebook and elsewhere have claimed that any time they spot a gun on someone, they will attack them (and that has actually happened) or they will call 9-1-1 with a “Help! Man with a gun!” call. What would such people do if they believed a simple phone call could get a gun owner – and his or her firearms – seized? The potential for abuse is obvious.
Too many of the proposals would take a single accuser’s word as truth. Let’s say Marvin the Monster is stalking Vickie the Victim. He calls in and claims that Vickie is out of her mind and has threatened him with a gun. Vickie’s guns are automatically seized. It will be at least days before she can have a hearing, be cleared, and get them back…and for every minute of all those days she is helpless to protect herself from Marvin.
Red Flag laws need to be done right, and that won’t happen unless our side goes beyond knee-jerk opposition and has a hand in formulating them.
- Such a law, IMHO, should require probable cause to trigger confiscation.
- It would have to provide for quick hearing and resolution of false claims, something that will be difficult in today’s clogged court system.
- There are logistical issues to consider: storage space for temporarily confiscated guns, perhaps provisions for them to be stored with FFL dealers, etc., protocols for disposal of a gun collection if the owner is indeed dangerous based on investigation and adjudication and is institutionalized, and so on.
- There should be serious, and perhaps mandatory, penalties for false accusations.
- If the claim is that the subject has said he’s going to steal his neighbor’s or relative’s guns to commit mass murder, do the innocent neighbor’s or relative’s guns get seized?
Input from professionals seems to be lacking in the proposals I’ve seen thus far. I would like to see a blue ribbon panel of knowledgeable psychologists and psychiatrists – Dr. William Aprill in Louisiana, Dr. Alexis Artwohl in Arizona, and Dr. Anthony Semone in Pennsylvania all come to mind – study this issue and make some professional recommendations from their field of expertise. Similarly, I want to hear from police administrators on logistical elements: someone like this Colorado sheriff, who has a handle on it. And I want the legislators to tell us what they want the law to do with genuinely dangerous people once their guns have been confiscated.
Readers, chime in: We all want to see psychopathic killers stopped before they can claim their first victims, and we all want the process to be such that it minimizes and hopefully forecloses the chance of abuse by false accusation.
What would YOU want to see in such legislation?