FPC: Why Politicians Are Dead Wrong About Red Flag Laws

Once a seizure order is issued by the closed court, state-sanctioned “swatting” occurs. Mariakray, iStock-1162837352
Once a seizure order is issued by the closed court, state-sanctioned “swatting” occurs. iStock-1162837352

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- In the era of “just do something” public policy, legislators on both sides of the aisle are pitching red flag legislation as a moderate form of gun control; one having a positive impact on mental health reform while simultaneously keeping Americans safe. Nothing could be further from the truth, and what these politicians won’t tell you is that their position is unsupported by evidence and riddled with far-reaching, unconstitutional implications for everyone.

So what happens when someone is subjected to a red flag seizure? Any of a number of acquaintances – a family member, teacher, roommate, or even a co-worker or former co-worker, can file a petition with the court to have an individual’s rights stripped from them. This means that people with a merely tangential relationship to a respondent can file a petition, and because most red flag laws have no measures to deter malicious filing, they leave the door open for malicious people to bring forth unsupported accusations.

When the petition is filed, an initial hearing is typically held without the subject person present, so he is completely unable to defend himself. The standard of proof is substantially lower here than what would be required had an actual crime occurred, and as such it’s incredibly easy for the order to attach with little to no evidence.

Once a seizure order is issued by the closed court, state-sanctioned “swatting” occurs. The police can show up unannounced at the person’s door, potentially catching him off-guard. This is a recipe for catastrophe, because the police can be mistaken for intruders. Even if the police identify themselves during a seizure, a combination of insufficient training and heightened anxiety still puts human life in unnecessary peril; red flag laws have already resulted in at least one confirmed death when a surprised homeowner answered the door and was shot by police during a brief argument.

Assuming the police are successful in safely executing the seizure order, not only do they take the respondent’s firearms, ammunition, and magazines, several states also revoke the subject person’s concealed carry license, which can be costly and time-consuming to replace or reinstate. Following the initial seizure, the order remains standing for two to three weeks unless a final hearing is held.

Unlike in a criminal trial, the subject person has no right to legal representation during final hearings, which often means spending thousands of dollars in legal fees if they want a competent defense. Even if a person is innocent and goes deep out of pocket for a lawyer, they might still lose their rights. The evidentiary standard for a final hearing is even lower than the initial hearing – “preponderance of the evidence” – which means the difference between the state keeping or returning the respondent’s firearms is essentially a coin toss. If the person loses, the state may keep his property for up to a year, and in New Jersey, indefinitely unless a court terminates the order at a later date.

Red flag laws raise several red flags of their own: they victimize the poor, deny Due Process, and allow the State to seize property for a substantial amount of time when a crime hasn’t even occurred, leaving people defenseless in their own homes. Legislators can’t prove they are effective in deterring violence, and they ironically amplify the stigma against people with mental health issues. Not only are these laws ineffective, they may even deter people from seeking the help that they desperately need, creating the threat politicians claimed to be addressing. To learn more about the specifics of these laws, their history, and FPC’s policy position, you can read more here. To take action against Red Flag Laws, go to StopRedFlagLaws.com


About FPCFirearms Policy Coalition

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)(4) grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to defend the People’s rights—especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.

Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the People’s rights and promote individual liberty through research, education, and legal action programs.

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Wild BillDeplorable BillSmokeStripesevengregs Recent comment authors
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Stripeseven
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Stripeseven

Nothing more than criminal activity in attempting to undermine the 5th. and 14th. Amendments to the Constitution.

Smoke
Member
Smoke

You mean the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendments.

Vern
Member
Vern

Red flag laws are nothing more than a conspiracy of those in the democrat party and their co-conspirators of the left to take the United States of America away from the American people.
Nothing more, nothing less. Why are the American people allowing this illegal conspiracy to happen?

MICHAEL J
Member
MICHAEL J

As I’ve said in the past, it doesn’t cost the accusers anything to be wrong when it comes to red flag laws. But it costs the accused everything, it’s almost insurmountable.
California was the first to implement this draconian law and had to supplement it with a 2nd law for wrongfully and falsely reporting a red flag situation. This carries a misdemeanor charge and is hardly a deterent for any vengeful attack when all they have say is “I really thought they were a danger”.
No due process says it all.

Deplorable Bill
Member
Deplorable Bill

It is obvious to me that these red flag type laws have great potential for government abuse. I have already seen more than my fair share of governmental abuse so I KNOW this to be true. Worse, anyone who says they have anything against a firearm owner can be used as a weapon by anyone with a wad of cash. Think about it. There is no mention of the accuser being subject to jail/fines if their allegations prove to be lies or trumped up even if property or lives are lost. Out in Phoenix there is/was a string of home… Read more »

gregs
Member
gregs

“I feel sorry for those righteous officers who are forced into doing unconstitutional acts, thereby violating their oaths to America and the supreme law of the land, the constitution. I have heard of officers who would refuse to enforce unconstitutional laws/orders.” you feel sorry? no officer is forced to do right or wrong, that is a moral choice. they should be very aware of what they are doing as their job is to uphold the “law” of the land. they can choose to stand up to their superiors and actually defend the Constitution, or they can just go along with… Read more »

Smoke
Member
Smoke

I agree with you but difficult to read without proper capitalization.

Deplorable Bill
Member
Deplorable Bill

Gregs, I do feel sorry for anybody who would disavow their legal, legitimate, binding oath of office. I did not say they don’t deserve their guilt or the legal costs of that guilt. Treason has a legal, legitimate, morally binding, righteous, terrible and worthy cost that comes with it. Treason is a term in relation to legality more so than morality. How did we get here? Kruchev told the U.N. back in the 60’s how he would destroy the U.S. in a speech there at the U.N. It might be worth looking up and listening to. This nation is one… Read more »

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@DB, Yes, I, too, will feel sorry for those who violate their oath and betray their countrymen … at the hanging!

Will
Member
Will

Don’t forget scumbag,traitor LaPierre is all in on ERPO’s. Right after Trump met with the useless son of a bitch is when Trump said,..”take the guns first,due process later” ! Maybe Trump has learned something about due process since then. JOIN GOA ! THE ONLY NO-COMPROMISE GUN LOBBY IN WASHINGTON !