One of the reasons the founders made it so difficult for government to enact laws and even harder for the Constitution to be amended is because they feared reactionary changes to our legal and governmental systems. They intended government to move methodically, not because they wanted to hamstring lawmakers from doing their job but because they wanted to force lawmakers to do their jobs the right way.
Emotion should never drive policy. We’ve seen the deadly effects of such things with the Patriot Act and Iraq War. We’ve seen emotions have the other effect of blocking sensible legislation such as anything pertaining to proper border security. The left thrives on emotion, oftentimes because the surface level feelings are the only level in which their proposals can stand up to scrutiny. Dig a little below the surface and suddenly their ideas make absolutely no sense.
But conservatives are not immune, as we’re seeing quite often in today’s mass-shooting-driven push for new gun laws. The big push by the President and many conservative lawmakers is centered around red flag gun laws. As with most leftist proposals, red flag gun laws make sense on the very top layer, but below the surface extremely troubling problems become apparent.
My colleagues have written about the reasons these proposals go against the Constitution and how they represent a shift towards Communist China’s mentality for controlling their citizens, but I understand many conservatives will not be moved by arguments that seem to go against the stated intention of the President. But as always, we believe in praising the President when he’s right and offering better counsel when he’s wrong, and this is one of the cases in which conservatives supporting a proposal likely haven’t thought it through to its inevitable conclusion.
Here are three reasons red flag gun laws will backfire on Republicans and America.
Mental illness in the eyes of the triggered
Depending on how the laws are written in each state, the definition of what constitutes a need to trigger an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) will often come down to the fear level of the accuser. The guise of mental illness predicates calls for red flag gun laws, but it really comes down to whether or not someone can accumulate enough “evidence” that someone poses a risk to others or themselves.
Adam Lanza saw multiple psychologists and was deemed problematic. But the guns he used to murder 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook weren’t even his.
Stephen Paddock is still a mystery with no history of mental illness, no reports against him of threats, no anti-anything sentiment on social media. In fact, two years after the Las Vegas massacre, we know very little about Paddock at all.
I could go up and down the list of mass shooters in recent years and the story is generally the same. Acquaintances (most didn’t have many friends) would say they were aloof. Maybe a little odd. Some would say they were standoffish or even persnickety. But only a handful displayed the type of behavior that would have likely triggered an ERPO petition.
On the other hand, Gary J. Willis was a law abiding gun owner. A family member thought he had become so irate that he needed to have his guns removed. When police tried to execute the ERPO, a struggle ensued and Willis was killed. Was Willis a mass shooter waiting to happen? We’ll never know, but his case is being heralded as a victory for red flag gun laws as if his actions indicated he was a threat.
Some will point to the Dayton shooting over the weekend as an example of how red flag gun laws might have stopped him. But here’s the thing. As Dana Loesch pointed out at The Federalist, both the Dayton and Parkland shooters could have been prevented from acquiring firearms based on current laws if the system was made to operate properly.
The murderers in Parkland, Florida and Dayton, Ohio, are two recent examples. These two monsters were walking red flags with access to firearms and yet, with all of the laws available to adjudicate them ineligible to carry or purchase guns, they continued unabated until the unthinkable. They weren’t stopped.
The most likely scenario isn’t that red flag gun laws will prevent mass murders. Instead, they will take away the property of law abiding citizens because someone made a strong case against them before a judge using social media posts and possibly a note from a psychologist. Maybe a guidance counselor saw something she didn’t like. Or a friend noticed an “unhealthy” obsession with guns and violent video games. Or… the list goes on and on.
Anything that triggers an acquaintance to request an ERPO can trigger the ERPO itself, depending on the judge. And as I’ll discuss shortly, we shouldn’t trust most judges.
Appeasing Democrats won’t stop the gun control push
One of the biggest reasons I’m hearing from some conservative friends as to why we need to push red flag gun laws is that the President and Republicans need to do something or this issue is going to come back and bite them on election day. This “something” is, in the eyes of some pundits, a way of addressing gun violence without moving towards gun control and getting disavowed by the Republican base.
But this is Pandora’s Box. It’s another step in the not-so-long road towards gun bans and confiscations. Why? Because they won’t work. Here’s a scenario put forth by The Resurgent‘s Steve Berman:
These are real questions. And if we implement “red flag” & Johnny gets one, it is lifted & the next day Johnny goes and shoots 20 people, what then? They’ll make the next one permanent and it will be against someone innocent. https://t.co/ut59PNpkuG
— Steve Berman (@stevengberman) August 6, 2019
Laws are only good enough to appease the masses until the moment they don’t work as intended. Once this happens, calls will be made to expand the laws, and since their backers on the right painted themselves into a corner by passing the red flag laws to begin with, they’ll be forced to reconsider.
But gun control activists won’t be appeased by any of this until guns are taken away, period. This won’t slow calls to ban “assault weapons.” It won’t garner Republicans the kudos they seem to desire from mainstream media. It will only embolden the left to take it a step further. Or two. Or ten.
When red flag gun laws fail once, they’ll be a failure hung around the necks of every Republican who proposed them. If the GOP wants to play 4D chess with the 2020 election, this isn’t the way to do it. They’re setting themselves up for a huge embarrassment that will affect voters much more than standing firm to the notion that Americans have rights and those rights shall not be infringed.
Activist judges are activists
This is similar to the first argument about people using ERPOs whenever they feel triggered, but it’s taking it from the angle of an activist judiciary that believes in removing firearms by any means necessary. Progressive judges will pop ERPOs like candy. They’ll be presented with a Tweet opposing illegal immigrants and use it as grounds to grant an ERPO against the gun owner who Tweeted it.
If you don’t believe the progressives in our broken court system will abuse this power, you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the progressives in our broken court system. They will definitely abuse this power. Once word gets out that Judge Lefty Johnson is “sympathetic” to ERPO requests, he’ll get flooded with petitions that will get rubber stamped. There isn’t even really a question about whether or not this will happen. The only question is how many power-drunk judges will take advantage of it.
Lest we forget, the left will not rest until we are disarmed as a population. It’s incumbent on Republican lawmakers and conservative voters to make sure this doesn’t happen. Red flag gun laws are a step towards gun confiscations en masse.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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