Boy howdy, anti-gunners love “red flag” laws like a fat kid loves cake…
Anti-gunners are like teenage girls in a lot of ways; in addition to their penchant for hysterical squeals that test the upper limits of human hearing, they’re very into trends. Some seasons they’re all into “Saturday Night Specials.” Some seasons it’s all about “Bayonet Lugs.” But for the last three years or so, the hottest trend in gun-grabbin’ is “red flag” laws, and it’s going to look embarrassing as a 1980s mullet when they check out their yearbook photos in 10 years. Like the mullet, “red flag” laws appear sort of reasonable at first blush but quickly descend into madness and extra-hold hairspray as soon as you take a second look.
When I say that “red flag” laws are all the rage among the gun-grabbers, I really mean it: Over the last couple of years, anti-gunners have either passed or tried to pass laws allowing the state to confiscate firearms from citizens deemed a danger to themselves or others, frequently on the say-so of just one law-enforcement officer, without due process. This is happening in states that wouldn’t surprise you one bit, like New Jersey…but also in states like New Mexico and Nebraska, where the Second Amendment hasn’t seemed to be in any real danger for quite some time. That, in and of itself, ought to be a “red flag” of its own. So how is this happening?
Part of the problem here is that, as a society, we already accept that there are emergency situations in which a person’s Constitutional rights may be temporarily suspended. During a declared state of emergency, for example, we accept the idea of staying home until the disaster is over…which of course abrogates our right to peaceable assembly. When it comes to mental illness, we fully accept that a person who has displayed behavior that’s sufficiently alarming can be placed on a 72-hour medical hold, which means they get to spend three days essentially imprisoned without an arrest or a trial. The key difference here–and reasonable people can be forgiven for forgetting it–is that these situations are temporary. “Red flag” laws don’t ever have any sort of an end date on them, and many of them have no provision for a judicial overturn at all.
But the real problem here is that it’s 100% true that mass shootings are committed by insane people. It’s a tautological statement…the desire to shoot lots of innocent people makes you insane. Furthermore, it’s quite common to learn, in the aftermath of a mass shooting, that the murderer’s friends and family did indeed notice that something was wrong and tried to warn their local law enforcement. For this reason, even some Second Amendment supporters can be gulled into supporting “red flag” legislation (or at least into not actively opposing it). That’s definitely a reason for the gun-grabbers to love “red flag” laws like my ex-wife loves the Home Shopping Network…but it’s not the real reason.
The real reason that anti-gunners love red flag laws so much is that, for decades, they have defined the desire to own a gun as insanity. Now we’re back into that sweet, sweet tautological statement territory…they say that it’s insane to want to own a gun, you own a gun and haven’t gotten rid of it, therefore you are insane, therefore, “Hell yes,” we’re coming to take that gun away from you. Think that prediction sounds overly paranoid…perhaps even, dare I say it, insane? Just remember that these are the same people who turn their Fruit of the Looms into a fudge factory when a toddler points a stick at them and says “bang.” These are people who define having 1,000 rounds of ammo as a “stockpile,” and three different handguns as an “arsenal,” and who think the NRA is terrorizing anything other than my poor mailman who has to carry all of their letters asking for money.
Why do anti-gunners love red flag laws so much? Because unlike just about every other ban they’ve tried to pass, they’ve managed to get a few misguided pro-2A people to support them. Because passing those laws allows them to feel like they did something. And, finally, because they’re hoping they’ll be the ones who get to decide from whom the guns will be confiscated first.
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