How ‘red flag’ laws open the door to sweep­ing gun con­fis­ca­tion Th­ese laws ex­pose law­ful gun own­ers to ran­dom, sub­jec­tive judg­ment

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mark W. Smith

Pro­po­nents of strict gun-con­trol laws ei­ther don’t know or bla­tantly ig­nore the fact that crim­i­nals who com­mit crimes with firearms don’t ac­knowl­edge or ad­here to gun back­ground checks, “red flag” laws, lim­its on gun magazines or bans on cer­tain types of firearms. By their very na­ture, ca­reer crim­i­nals ig­nore ex­ist­ing laws gov­ern­ing guns and pas­sage of ad­di­tional re­stric­tions on gun own­er­ship only make it more dif­fi­cult for lawabid­ing cit­i­zens to buy or sell firearms.

De­spite the fact that ad­di­tional re­stric­tions on law­ful gun own­er­ship will not re­duce vi­o­lent crime, Amer­ica’s pho­bic gun grab­bers are well or­ga­nized, well fi­nanced and uti­lize a laun­dry list of meth­ods to in­fringe upon our Se­cond Amend­ment rights.

Red flag laws, for ex­am­ple, are of­ten touted by their sup­port­ers as a “com­mon sense” gun-con­trol mea­sure that will help en­sure that peo­ple who might do harm to them­selves or oth­ers can­not keep their guns. How­ever, th­ese laws ex­pose law­ful gun own­ers to ran­dom, sub­jec­tive judg­ment and with­out due process.

If a fam­ily mem­ber, co­worker, per­haps a physi­cian, some­how be­lieves — or de­cides — you may be a threat, they can call au­thor­i­ties with a story about you and em­power au­thor­i­ties to seize your firearms. Your Se­cond Amend­ment rights now fall vic­tim to a disgruntle­d em­ployee, a neigh­bor with a grudge or an es­tranged spouse who can fab­ri­cate an ac­cu­sa­tion al­low­ing the po­lice to re­move guns from your home or per­son.

Have no doubt, red flag laws are the first, fright­en­ing steps in a mas­sive, gov­ern­ment-con­trolled, gun-con­fis­ca­tion move­ment. Our Found­ing Fa­thers re­belled against Eng­land for far less.

No one wants con­victed felons or men­tally un­sta­ble peo­ple to have ac­cess to firearms. There are al­ready law­ful pre­cau­tions in place to keep guns out of the hands of the men­tally ill. The Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives (ATF) presently re­quires any­one who pur­chases a

firearm from a li­censed gun dealer to an­swer a se­ries of ques­tions be­fore the firearm pur­chase is legally ap­proved.

Po­ten­tial gun own­ers are asked if, he/she, “… has been ad­ju­di­cated as a men­tal de­fec­tive or has been com­mit­ted to a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion.” If so, the in­di­vid­ual can­not legally pur­chase a gun. If this is the goal of red flag laws, the work is done. Such re­stric­tions have been in place for decades.

But gun con­fis­ca­tion is the real mo­ti­va­tion be­hind the peo­ple sup­port­ing red flag laws. Th­ese folks be­lieve they have a duty to rid their com­mu­ni­ties of firearms. Un­der th­ese laws, vir­tu­ally any­one can ac­cuse a co-worker, neigh­bor or rel­a­tive re­gard­ing their abil­ity to law­fully own a firearm. With red flag leg­is­la­tion be­hind them, so­cial jus­tice “do-good­ers” work­ing with ac­tivist judges will eas­ily be able to strip law-abid­ing gun own­ers of their con­sti­tu­tional rights and prop­erty.

Th­ese laws also ig­nore the value of large gun col­lec­tions held by deal­ers and in­vestors. Mod­ern firearms, col­lec­tor-grade guns, an­tique and rare weapons of­ten fetch prices of tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. There are no pro­vi­sions un­der red flag laws to pre­vent au­thor­i­ties from rough han­dling, care­less­ness or dam­age done to firearms.

A col­lec­tor who has his guns con­fis­cated could see the value of many pris­tine con­di­tion firearms — some handed down through his fam­ily — drop from many thou­sands of dol­lars each Mark W. Smith, an at­tor­ney and a se­nior fel­low of law and pub­lic pol­icy at the King’s Col­lege in New York City, is the au­thor of “First They Came for the Gun Own­ers,” due in stores this Oc­to­ber.


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