Gun control legislation is winding through the Senate, largely on the wings of Democrats but floated, too, by a dozen or so Republicans who’ve seen fit to sign on to red flag laws — that is, the idea of courts stripping Second Amendment rights from those deemed dangers to themselves or others.
These Republicans are politically misstepping.
Republicans have no business supporting red flag laws.
Red flag laws are unconstitutional seizures of God-given rights to protect self and family. The Second Amendment wasn’t put in place by the Founding Fathers as a provision for government — as a little slice of freedom for politicians and judges and medical professionals to decide who gets, who doesn’t get. Rather, the Second Amendment is a recognition of a right individuals in America already have from their heavenly Creator, as well as an accompanying stipulation that government is in place only to protect and preserve those inherent individual rights.
Democrats, of course, bill red flag laws as just a commonsense provision to keep the mentally insane and those with leanings toward violence from possessing firearms. It’s a safe guard, Democrats say. It’s a simple solution to all the school shootings that have left scores of innocent dead and injured in recent weeks, months, years, Democrats say.
What of the loss of due process accompanying all red flag laws?
Some say it’s worth it.
The Wall Street Journal, for instance, just published an opinion piece that advanced this view: “Even if only a small percentage of threats actually become mass shootings, ERPOs [extreme risk protection orders, i.e. red flag laws] could save hundreds of lives, avoiding countless tragedies and heartbreak and restoring trust in a system that has long struggle to balance civilian firearm ownership with public safety.”
Well, with a standard like “could,” justifications for government to act — to intrude on civil liberties — are limitless.
If red flag laws, “could save hundreds of lives,” how much more so “could” federal gun registries; how much more so “could” minimum-age requirements of, say, 25 years old for firearm purchases; how much more so “could” national limits on magazine capabilities; how much more so “could” outright bans on handguns, AR-15s and heck, let’s just go for the brass ring here, anything that fires above an intensity of a BB gun?
If this sounds like hyperbole, consider this: The same type of people who spent two-plus years justifying lockdowns on supposedly free American citizens based on fears of a novel coronavirus will be in charge of dictating who’s mentally fit enough, versus who isn’t, for firearm ownership.
The same type of medical bureaucrats who told us that if one face mask works, it’s only common sense that two work better would be in charge of deciding the danger of social media posts and helping courts determine if the posters were too deranged to own guns.
The same health professionals who deemed Donald Trump mentally unfit for office — long-distance, no less — would be in charge of discerning the mental fitness of American citizens, and advising courts accordingly on possible Second Amendment dangers that loom.
Smart Americans know this.
“[The] majority of Independents and Republicans say ‘red flag’ gun laws can be abused by government officials and used to target their opponents,” said a newly released joint survey of Conventions of States Action and The Trafalgar Group. By the numbers, the poll found just over 52% of independents believe red flag laws open the door for government abuse; likewise, just over 72% of Republicans. Predictably, only a little more than 16% of Democrats saw similarly.
But the Second Amendment is not to be taken lightly.
And Republicans, frankly, ought to know better than to side with Democrats on red flag laws.
Republicans ought to be making the case that gun violence is caused by a slew of factors related to broken and fatherless homes; rising gang membership; open borders that fuel drug and sex trafficking trades; addiction and yes, mental illness; and mostly, the removal of all-things-God and all-things-godly from the public stage, including the schools.
Republicans ought to be making the case that legislating by emotion is a raw deal for the law-abiding because it always results in knee-jerk, feel-good political provisions that do nothing to solve the problems the legislation purports to address.
Republicans ought to be reminding about that thing called American Exceptionalism, and how God-given rights and a subservient political class and a Constitution that limits the government from stripping citizens of those God-given rights are all linked to that fine label and characterization and expression of the USA.
Republicans ought to be recognizing that Democrats will stop at nothing to dismantle the Second Amendment, even if it means watering its provisions bit by bit, drip by drip, first the red flag law then the floodgate of sneaky so-called commonsense controls, then the final clamp — the permission slip moment when all citizens, save the select, have to ask and receive the government OK to use, purchase, possess and own any kind of firearm at all.
See Australia for further explanation.
America, it should be noted, is not Australia. American politicians have no right to simply legislate away citizens’ gun rights.
And Republicans should be making that case, too.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter and podcast by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Lockdown: The Socialist Plan To Take Away Your Freedom,” is available by clicking HERE or clicking HERE or CLICKING HERE.