A terrible mix-up that happened recently in Florida has provided some justification for why conservative Republicans fear that red-flag gun laws could be used and/or abused to accidentally or purposefully infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans.
Meet Jon Carpenter, a military veteran, sports fishermen and law-abiding gun owner from St. Cloud whose firearms license was suspended after the state mixed him up with another, less-congenial Jon Carpenter who’d reportedly threatened an elderly couple.
“He’s 110 pounds. I’m 200. He has brown eyes. I have hazel. He has black hair. I have no hair,” Carpenter said to local station WTVT, comparing himself to his namefellow.
Yet the state of Florida was apparently unable to distinguish the two from each other.
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“[T]he veteran, fisherman, 200-pound Jon Carpenter was sent a certified letter from the state, suspending his firearms license. … He also received a notice that he had been reported to DCF for elder abuse and a state order to surrender any firearms,” WTVT reported on Feb. 4.
“I was just dumbfounded,” he said in exasperation. “I didn’t know what to do. I called the state and they basically said, ‘There’s an injunction against you.’ The state basically said, ‘If it’s not you, go to the courthouse. They’ll give you a letter and they’ll get you reinstated.'”
See a copy of the original letter from the state below:
Alas, things didn’t work as they were supposed to, for when Carpenter went to the courthouse, the clerk told him he must return in two weeks.
“So I said, ‘I’m guilty until I prove myself innocent? That’s why I’m here, trying to show its not me.’ And [the clerk’s] like, ‘Since you‘re here, you’ve been served. Here’s your restraining order,'” he explained.
To resolve the matter, he wound up having to connect with someone at the sheriff’s office “who helped him get the injunction dismissed and called the state to get his firearms license reinstated,” according to WTVT.
But even that took ages.
“They said they process it in the order it was received and it takes 6-8 weeks. I was like, ‘So you can suspend it in one day, instantly, but for somebody else’s mistake, I’ve got to wait 6-8 weeks?’” Carpenter called.
While he’s since resolved the matter, a bitter taste still remains in his mouth.
“Carpenter persisted and got it straightened out sooner than that, but he says his experience of mistaken identity is a red flag, in itself, for politicians who promote the red flags laws and trust the bureaucrats to get it right,” WTVT’s report concluded.
But he didn’t just mean Democrat politicians. He meant Republican ones as well.
My bi-partisan “Red Flag” law was filed 18 months ago & again earlier this year. We asked Senate Judiciary to take it up as few months ago. I hope they will now do so.
Identifying & stopping a killer before they act is best way to prevent these tragedies https://t.co/LcXj1qZMf9
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 5, 2019
Read more about how our “Red Flag” bill we filed last year & then again 7 months ago would help state law enforcement prevent a suicide,mass shooting or terrorist attack without violating the due process or 2A rights of any American. https://t.co/jBu0xgKkyl
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 5, 2019
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 9, 2019
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 20, 2019
“Red-flag laws empower law enforcement or family members to use the judicial system to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, argued last year in defense of red flag laws.
“In Florida, when a concerned family member contacts the police about a person determined to be a threat to himself or others, the police can petition a judge to have his guns taken away for two weeks. After an additional hearing, the risk protection order can be extended for up to a year.”
He added that these laws “do not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
“In order for a state to be eligible for funding under our proposal, it would be required to enact strong due process protections and include a felony penalty for false reporting,” he claimed.
What happened to Carpenter, a Florida resident, suggests otherwise.
Rubio and others like him began advocating for red flag laws after the 2018 mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland by a deranged shooter who’d escaped scrutiny left 17 dead, including a large number of underage kids.
Even powerhouse Sen. Lindsey Graham has expressed support for such laws.
“We want to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who are hateful or mentally ill. … So we’re looking at protective order legislation, red flag legislation, grant programs to help states hire mental health professionals for the cops to evaluate what cases go to court,” he said last August on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“Plenty of due process, and do something on background checks. I hope the president is going to lead us to a solution this time.”
But again, what happened to Carpenter strongly suggests otherwise …
Listen to some of his remarks below:
(Source: Fox News)
The rest of his remarks may be found here.
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