Whenever the government makes a big hullabaloo about bipartisanship, rest assured that whatever it’s up to is bad news for the rest of us.

That’s exactly what’s happened in the aftermath of the tragic events in Texas and Ohio with these so-called “red flag” gun laws.

In short, red flag laws allow any family member, friend, or acquaintance to notify the authorities if they believe someone is a threat to themselves or others, specifically if they own a gun. The court can then issue an “extreme risk protection order” and confiscate said gun while a judge determines if/when the accused’s property is returned.

All of this is taking place before a crime has even been committed. But who has time for all that fancy schmancy due process stuff!

Maybe I missed it, but at what point are we supposed to think this is a good idea? Yet, this is exactly what’s being pushed in places like my home State of Ohio where Republican Governor Mike DeWine has expressed his support for a red flag law.

So far, 17 States and DC have similar laws already on the books and what’s worse, the federal government could implement a federal grant program to pay States to adopt these laws. But even a cursory skimming of the U.S or any State constitution will clearly spell out how bad of an idea this really is.

Red flag laws turn the right to due process on its head. The accused, now assumed guilty until innocent, and with little evidence, can have their firearms taken away. It’s a blatant swipe at second and fourth amendment type protections and most, if not all State constitutions bar against these kinds of abuses.

President Trump has even backed the idea, saying that “we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.”

Naturally we’re assured these laws would never be abused. We’re told they’re intended for individuals with mental health issues, but how long will that last? At what point in human history has a government initiative, supposedly limited at the onset but broadly worded, not evolved beyond its intended purpose? Spoiler alert: never.

On top of all that, there’s little evidence that they actually reduce gun violence.

A study by Duke University in 2016 found that red flag laws in Connecticut were mostly associated with preventing suicide and cases where an individual was likely to commit self harm. And in terms of preventing mass shootings, it’s virtually impossible to say one way or another.

Regardless, people are scared and government is all too willing to take advantage of a crisis. Days after the shooting in Dayton, Governor DeWine was shouted down by chants of “do something” from a crowd gathered to honor the victims. I couldn’t possibly provide a better example of what not to do immediately after a traumatic event. The worst decisions are made when governments “do something” while fear and emotions are running high.

The fact that these laws are getting bipartisan support simply means that Democrats and Republicans are playing nice long enough to pull one over on everyone else. That’s biggest red flag of them all.

 

For more thoughts on liberty, check out my blog at Libertyonthemind.com!