Lindsey Graham says ‘Red Flag’ gun confiscation laws needed, Senators meet in the wake of 3 high-profile suicides

Lawmakers in the Senate Judiciary Committee today held a widely anticipated hearing on “Red Flag” gun confiscation laws … which many states have already enacted.

Immediately afterwards, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that he hoped Congress would be able to come to a bipartisan agreement to help implement Red Flag laws in states. “I really can’t see a reason why we can’t pursue this at the federal level, to incentivize states.”

The Judiciary Committee is chaired by Graham. Among the other key Senators on the committee is Democrat Dianne Feinstein who has been a committed gun confiscator, seemingly from birth.

The agenda for the hearing was titled, “Red Flag Laws: Examining Guidelines for State Action.” Several “expert witnesses” testified before the committee.

There are currently two bills in the Senate, one introduced by GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and one proposed by Feinstein, focused on incentivizing states to implement red flag laws.

The issue is considered in Capitol Hill as one that has bipartisan support.

On the surface, the Red Flag idea sounds reasonable … the intent of Red Flag laws being to confiscate guns from people who should not have them. For instance, mentally ill or dangerous folks are the ones they say would be on the radar for such draconian seizures.

It’s important to note here that most state laws already on the books do not involve any sort of due process nor do they attempt to include protections to respect personal liberty. They are quite broad and vague in practical application, with few if any limitations. In fact, the basis for these laws is to enable fast action by law enforcement based on a single citizen’s complaint.

No reason to be concerned about that, right? Passing laws like this that enable gun-grabbing liberals to target gun owners? Sorry–denying the potential for widespread abuse is naive.

Senate Bill 1178 is one of the bills before the committee today. An NRA website encapsulates the issue with the bill this way:

This gun control bill would create an avenue by which gun owners could lose their gun rights following an ex parte hearing where the gun owner would have no opportunity to challenge the claims being made by a petitioner.  A gun owner who has an order issued against them would have no ability to transfer their firearms to a third party.  Further, this bill includes vague definitions of relationships without timeframes where someone could petition for an order against someone they have not seen or with whom they have not lived for 40 years.

Definition of ex-parte for all non-attorneys: An ex parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the controversy to be present. In U.S. legal doctrines, ex parte means a legal proceeding brought by one person in the absence of and without representation or notification of other parties. It is also used more loosely to refer to improper unilateral contacts with a court, arbitrator, or represented party without notice to the other party or counsel for that party.

Fifth Amendment anyone? The right to due process of law? Ring any bells?

The law-abiding gun community has long been on board with figuring out a way to ensure firearms are not in the hands of those who should not have them, to include criminals. Admittedly, the issue of mental illness gets a bit problematic, but due process remains an inherent and necessary right in a free society.

Allowing the complaint of one individual against another to seize firearms is a dangerous, unconstitutional move, with obvious abuses guaranteed.

One of the witnesses giving opening statements to the committee was Sheriff Ric Bradshaw of liberal-leaning Palm Beach County who urged that lawmakers ensure mental health professionals be involved in any process of removing firearms from those who are a threat to themselves or others.

“It’s imperative that you don’t just rely on law enforcement,” said Bradshaw. He indicated that officers involved in removing firearms often have training in crisis management, but clinicians and mental health experts should also be involved.

Dave Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute and a gun rights advocate who supports Red Flag laws, also warned that mental health professionals should be involved in the decision to remove firearms, to ensure that people’s weapons are not removed without due cause. “Without good due process, this process could be abused,” he said.

He insisted on the necessity of maintaining individuals’ rights to due process, and to defend themselves against having their firearms confiscated without sufficient cause. “Federal funding should support best practices, and not the worst,” Kopel said.

Ronald Honberg, a senior policy adviser of the advocacy group National Alliance on Mental Illness, testified that it’s more common for people with mental illness to commit suicide with a firearm than to perpetrate violence against others. “It’s very important that we not conflate mental illness with criminality,” he said.

Victor Rantala

Staff Writer
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Victor Rantala is an Army vet who lives in Minnesota, he is a former intelligence analyst and business owner, and is an NRA Life member who is officially retired but has yet to slow his roll.
Victor Rantala

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